The Vendor Marketplace is one of my favorite spots this weekend. It’s a chance to stroll around and check out some fashion, new motorcycle products, score some sunglasses or accessories and learn more about the motorcycle culture. Plus it’s located in Gasoline Alley. Not bad.
Early in the day at Vendor Marketplace
This year I’ve noticed a greater digital influence. As someone that works in the digital arena, this had me intrigued.
Earlier in the summer I attended the Indianapolis 500. On Sunday, July 31st, 2011 the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) hosted the 18th Annual Brickyard 400, which was the first Brickyard 400 I had ever attended. I didn’t know what to expect. I had never been to a NASCAR Race before. I wondered how the NASCAR cars would compare to open wheeled cars.
Before the race I went to the infield. We passed by the Pagoda and noticed a big crowd, so we went to see what was happening. Security blew whistles and one white van after another pulled up through the crowd of people. I saw the majority of the drivers and family members as they walked through the Pagoda to the otherside to prepare for the race. It was amazing to be so close to the drivers.
Grace Ybarra - Scholastic Kid Reporter
Before the race, I watched Desert Storm/Shield Veterans, Mayor Greg Ballard, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire on the winners podium. At the end of the National Anthem there was a US Navy T-45 Goshawk Jet Flyover and hundreds of red, white, and blue balloons were released into the sky. I loved hearing IMS Chairman of the Board, Mary Hulman George, say those famous words “Gentlemen, start your engines.” I was very excited that Hope Solo, US Women’s Soccer Goalie, came to the Brickyard to drive the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport pace car around for two laps before the start of the race.
When I was walking through the tunnel to get to our seats I put my hand on the top of the tunnel and you could feel the cars drive over your head. Every time the cars passed by your entire body shook. The NASCAR cars are definitely louder than IndyCars.
Once in our seats we watched the cars race around and pit. During the middle of the race Kyle Busch was leaving his pit while his neighbor, Tony Stewart was entering his pit. Kyle drove straight while Tony drove left into him. Both cars were damaged so they entered the pits and both pit crews took out sledgehammers and started beating the car back into shape. The sledgehammer is definetly something you definitely don’t see in open wheel racing.
I really enjoyed the unique designs on the NASCAR cars. My favorite car was Kyle Busch’s M&M Car. Even the tires advertised M&Ms with the multicolored M&Ms in the center of the tires.
Kyle Bush in the pits - Photo by Grace Ybarra
As the race neared the end, it was anybody’s race. After most cars pitted during the last twenty laps it was certainly unclear who was going to win it. When Jeff Gordon entered the pits he was in first place but when he came out of the pits he was in 18th place. Nothing stopped him though. He sped past 16 drivers and landed himself in second place on the final white flag lap. Paul Menard still stood in front of him. On turn four Gordon was close enough to catch Menard, although he didn’t pull it off. Menard came zooming across the bricks for his first NASCAR win. He drove his yellow 27 car in circles with smoke filling the air. The last five laps was pure adreneline.
I was glad to see such an exciting finish for my first Brickyard 400.
What was your first Brickyard 400 experience like?
Sunday 4:30 PM – The 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records has come to a close – and the conclusion was an unforgettable one for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Paul Menard and his father John Menard. John Menard is no stranger to the IMS oval with his history in IndyCar racing. He has spent time and money on racing at this track and today his hard work paid off when he saw his son cross over the yard of bricks and win the Brickyard 400. A big congratulations goes out to Paul for his win today, and for this being his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.
This weekend had something for everyone – and next year’s Brickyard will include even more excitement. So start counting down to the 2012 Super Weekend. 364 days to go…. – Cassie
Paul Menard celebrates his win
Sunday 3:45 PM - We’re 123 laps into the 160 lap Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records. Brad Keselowski is currently in the lead as the cars circulate under caution after a small incident on the back stretch. Jeff Burton, Juan Pabolo Montoya, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson round out the top 5. We stepped out of the nice cool media center to hit the beach… The Brickyard Beach Bash that is.
Fans enjoy the Brickyard Beach Bash
If you’re looking for a place to cool off the Beach Bash is the spot. There’s pools, cool zones, beach volleyball, a bar, and the best part… LIVE MUSIC. There’s been a DJ running all morning with dance competitions and as we speak Iyaz is on stage performing for the crowd. If you’ve been to the Snake Pit before this is our NASCAR version of the famed turn 3 party. Believe me when I say, it’s a sight to be seen! -Brian
Speedway native, diehard IMS follower, and Dale Jr fan... Johnny gives the fans a taste of his dance moves.
Sunday 1:45 PM – The 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records is off and running. Kasey Kahne is currently out and front and looking strong (obviously, he’s my pick). Gordon, Ragan, Kenseth, and Allmendinger round out the top 5. It’s a beautiful day, hot, and perfect for racing. It should be a great race as the heat will have the cars slipping and sliding all over the place. Who’s your early pick for victory? What about leader at half distance? – Brian
Sunday 12:30 PM - Emily and I were lucky enough to spend the morning backstage at the Big Machine Records performances. We were up close and personal with Thomas Rhett, The Band Perry, Brantley Gilbert, and Justin Moore. It was an unforgettable experience! The fans loved every minute of the concerts and we got to capture some great pictures that you can find in our Flickr photostream. As soon as Justin Moore concluded the concerts on the Brickfest stage, Rascal Flatts began to rock out on the front straight. Fans who had pre-race pit passes got an awesome 3 song set from Rascal Flatts.
We’re now awaiting Reba McEntire’s performance. The stands are filling up and the waving of the green flag will happen before we know it!
Rascal Flatts on the Brickyard 400 stage
Sunday 11:28 AM – Cars are lined up on pit row. Tires are laid out. The pit stalls are ready. The green flag is inching closer. Who is your pick to kiss the bricks today? We want to know. – Daniel
Sunday 9:28 AM – NASCAR is hosting a tweetup at 10am on the Turn 2 side of the Hall of Fame museum. We’re headed that way. So is Big Machine Records. How about you Tweeps? – Daniel
Sunday 8:20 AM – It’s starting to heat up – and there’s more hustle and bustle. Fans are rolling in and the teams are starting to fill pit lane. Big Machine Records and their star studded line up of Rascal Flatts, Reba, The Band Perry and more, will get started at 9am. Cassie and Emily will be on hand to send out tweets, grab pics and report back later in the blog. In the meantime, put on some sunscreen and head this way. It’s going to be a great day of racing and music. – Daniel
We're here early
Sunday 6:05 AM – It’s 6 AM and the 2011 Brickyard 400 is off with a bang, literally. Just a few hours until some of the biggest names in country music take the stage at IMS. Big Machine Records has provided a fantastic line up including The Band Perry, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, Rascal Flatts, and the legendary Reba McEntire.
A salute to US troops and the Brickyard Beach Bash are other great activities planned for today. The green flag will be waved at 1 PM and one lucky driver will be given the opportunity to kiss the bricks. We’ll be blogging through all the action, so be sure to keep checking back! – Cassie
The Pagoda at IMS
Saturday 6:15 PM - The 1st annual Brickfest was a hit – autograph sessions, an exciting round of qualifications, and a great concert by Hinder made the day quite a success. We headed out into the crowd of singing, dancing Hinder fans and searched for our Fan of the Day.
Alissa was decked out in Jimmie Johnson gear with her husband by her side dressed in Dale Jr gear and their son head to toe in Jeff Gordon attire. Alissa told us she waited in line for about an hour to get her wristband to get Jimmie’s autograph at the largest Sprint Cup autograph session of 2011. It seemed to be well worth the wait! She said the autograph session was what she was most looking forward to because she had never gotten an autograph. Alissa and her husband have attended the Brickyard 400 every year since 1998 and plan to attend next year’s Super Weekend.
Saturday 5:45 PM – Qualifying has ended and the driver wheeling the car with the paint scheme commemorating our Grand Marshal, Ned Jarrett, is on pole. David Ragan set the fastest lap in qualifying with a lap speed of 182.994. My choice for pole position, Kasey Kahne was just behind him in second place.
David Ragan 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records Pole Sitter
Here’s the top 10 after qualifying:
1.) David Ragan
2.) Kasey Kahne
3.) Jimmie Johnson
4.) Kurt Busch
5.) Brad Keselowski
6.) AJ Allmendinger
7.) Juan Pablo Montoya
8.) Jeff Gordon
9.) Matt Kenseth
10.) Carl Edwards
We’re off to the Hinder concert! – Brian
Saturday 3:25 PM – We caught up with Hope Solo and showed her around pit lane and Gasoline Alley. She got to rub elbows with lots of NASCAR and soccer fans, as well as meet Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon, 2nd place finisher JR Hildebrand, and NASCAR driver David Ragan. Hope talked about how excited she is to drive the pace car, driving over 100mph around IMS, being at such an amazing facility and how overwhelmingly friendly everyone has been. She’s still walking around soaking in all the excitement. – Daniel
JR Hildebrand and Hope Solo
Saturday 2:00 PM – We stepped out just a few minutes ago to check out the MASSIVE autograph session taking place in the chalet’s behind the pagoda. Today’s autograph session is actually the largest session in the NASCAR Sprint Cup this season. Drivers like Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, and Jeff Gordon were all present for the second half of today’s two part autograph session.
Trevor Bayne at the autograph session.
After strolling through the session it was pretty obvious why fans were sprinting through the gates this morning to get in line for the wristband distribution. It’s not too often to get to experience these drivers in a face to face atmosphere, especially this many! It certainly was a rare experience and I’m sure many fans won’t forget anytime soon. – B
Saturday 11:30 AM – The practice session has concluded, and we took the time to check out the view from Club 94. Club 94 is ticket holders that have had tickets since the innagural Brickyard 400 – in 1994. Club 94 is located on the front straight, so it’s pretty much front row seats to all the NASCAR action all weekend long. Not to mention the food and shade from this crazy July heat. – Cassie
Outside of Club 94
Saturday 10:06 AM – Practice is underway at the Brickyard. In other news, US Women’s National Soccer Team Goalie, Hope Solo will be driving tomorrow’s 2011 Chevrolet Corvette. We already know she has good reflexes. – Daniel
Saturday 9:14 AM – Another good morning. We’re ready for a massive day at the Brickyard for Brickfest. Autograph Sessions. NASCAR Qualifying. Club 94. Kids Club activities. An open Hall of Fame Museum. Hinder in concert. And it’s only Saturday. It’s also going to be a hot one – so stay hydrated and well fed. Speaking of which, Cassie and I started our day off with a breakfast sandwich. It’s no breakfast burrito, but it got the job done. What are you eating today? Daniel
Saturday 6:45 AM – Good morning! It’s a bit damp here this morning after the late night showers we had here in Indy but the trucks are already out on the track doing laps in order to dry the track. Today’s a big day, it’s the 1st Annual Brickfest! We’re all looking forward to all the live music, autograph sessions, and obviously on-track activity.
An early morning at IMS
There’s been quite a bit of debate here in the media center as to who will take the pole for the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records but I’m going to go with Kasey Kahne. It’d be a big story if the week after his spectacular shunt in a World of Outlaws car he took the pole.
Who do you think will be sitting on top of the timing charts this afternoon? -Brian
Friday 5:55 PM - It’s the end of the day and we’re glad the weather held out. Tomorrow’s a big day – autograph session, qualifying with lots of track time and the Hinder concert. The Daily Trackside Report is available now, if you want a good dose of track facts and quotes. And below, we’ve got a slideshow of over 200 images from the Brickyard 400 so far. Have a great night. See you tomorrow? – Daniel
Friday 5:33 PM – It was another hot day, but it seemed much more bearable than yesterday. As practice ended, fans gathered around Gasoline Alley and Thunder Alley to cheer and jeer their favorite teams and drivers. It made me realize how loyal NASCAR fans are. Who’s your favorite driver? – Daniel
The Gasoline Alley sign
Friday 5:00 PM – The final practice session has ended concluding track activity for the day (other than the Richard Petty Driving Experience). This session had a bit more activity as one of the cars had an engine let go. After a yellow flag to clean up the track, we were back to green flag conditions and the practice ended with no other events.
Jeff Gordon on track
The final top 10 ended up like this:
1.) Greg Biffle
2.) Martin Truex Jr
3.) Jimmie Johnson
4.) Casey Mears
5.) Kevin Harvick
6.) Carl Edwards
7.) Joey Logano
8.) David Reutimann
9.) Jeff Burton
10.) Brian Vickers
Tomorrow’s a big day here at IMS. We’ve got live music all day (including Hinder!), the NASCAR Sprint Cup largest autograph session, Q&A sessions, and of course qualifying. We’ll also have an exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peak from inside the IMS Hall of Fame museum.
We’ll be here through it all, make sure you follow along. – Brian
Friday 3:45 PM – After the first practice session concluded we headed out towards Turn 3 for the vintage car show that will be going on all weekend, and it was impressive! If you’re coming to the track this weekend, make sure to head over and check it out.
Then it was time to find the Fan of the Day! True fans hang out by the garages and that’s exactly where we found Derek. He was wearing his Jeff Gordon hat, and surrounded by his family of Tony Stewart fans. I asked him why his favorite driver is Jeff Gordon and his little sister answered for him – “because he isn’t our favorite” meaning herself and their parents. This is Derek’s 3rd year in a row at the Brickyard 400 and he can’t wait to see Jeff Gordon win this weekend!
Derek & his family
Practice session #2 is almost over and at 5 the Richard Petty Driving Experience is taking over the IMS oval. Keep checking back to stay up-to-date on all of the Brickyard happenings. – Cassie
Friday 2:15 PM – The first practice for the 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records has just concluded. No major event to speak of as it was a caution free session. Matt Kenseth was the fastest of the session… followed by Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, and Jeff Burton.
Kasey Kahne crosses the yard of bricks
The next session starts at 3:15 PM ET. We’re heading out to go find our next Fan of the Day. So if you see us drive by be sure to scream and shout, we just might pick you! -Brian
Friday 11:30 AM – About an hour and a half ago, the 2011 Brickyard 400 pace car was unveiled. Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Jamie McMurray had the honor of taking the cover off of the Chevrolet Corvette. This is the 18th year in a row a Chevy has been featured as the Brickyard 400 pace car, in other words, a Chevy has always paced the Brickyard 400.
The driver of this year’s pace car is Hope Solo, the goalie of the US women’s soccer team. Racing, soccer, music, autographs – what more could you ask for in one weekend?- Cassie
Jeff Belskus, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, A lucky fan!, Jeff Chew, and Jimmie Johnson with the 2011 Pace Car
Friday 11:00 AM – I was lucky enough to climb onboard one of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro pace cars and go for a spin around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Any fan who was at IMS today and took a Chevrolet test-drive in the Chevy Experience area was granted a hot lap in a Camaro or Corvette. There aren’t very many feelings in this world like coming off turn 4 at IMS and heading down the front straight.
Heading down the front stretch at IMS
In the early morning the front stretch is similar to a long dark tunnel with the light at the end being turn 1. Roaring past the Pagoda at over 120 mph is an experience every diehard race fan should have. -Brian
Friday 8:45 AM - Good morning! The track is officially open and the 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records has begun. It’s Chevy Day and tons of exciting event are planned for today. People were seen sprinting through the gates this morning in order to get in line for the autograph session wristband give away. Vintage cars are rolling through the gates and concession stands are providing the fans with coffee and breakfast sandwiches.
Happy Friday morning from IMS!
There are TONS of things going on here today. There’s a vintage car show running the entirety of the day, autograph sessions, pace car rides and, of course, Sprint Cup practice. We’ll also have some exclusive behind-the-scenes photos coming from an event at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum. Stay tuned all day! -Brian
9:00 PM- The Hauler Parade was the perfect way to kick off Brickyard 400 weekend! The event was definitely successful, but we can’t say the same about our pit stop competition team. We lost first round, but it was a great time! NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, Ned Jarrett & David Ragan arrived and answered questions from fans to make the evening even more exciting.
We headed home early to rest up for another day of NASCAR action tomorrow, but the Hauler Parade will continue until around 11 PM. So if you haven’t yet, head to Main Street for some great Thursday night entertainment! – Cassie
Pit Stop Competition in Full Swing!
6:10 PM - Not gonna lie. It’s a hot one, but there are tons of fans on Main Street. And now they are joined by tons of NASCAR Haulers. The band is still playing and there a lots of refreshments, so it’s worth it. Up next? The pit stop challenge! Daniel
Up in the grill
5:10 PM - Headed to the Hauler Parade! We’re competing in the pit stop competition and everything! Head to Main St and join in on the fun and check back here later for full Hauler Parade details! -Cassie
3:40 PM - It’s hot here today and when I say hot, I mean that kind of hot where it feels like your eyes are sweating. Disregarding the heat, my colleague Cassie and I ventured out of the media center here at IMS with the goal of finding our first 2011 Brickyard 400 Fan of the Day. The grounds are mostly filled with workers diligently building stages, kiosks, and fan entertainment zones but we stumbled across this IMS first-timer at the Hall of Fame Museum.
Brickyard 400 Fan of the Day - Tony from Manchester, England
Tony is from Manchester, England and this weekend is his first visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A self-confessed Formula 1 fan, Tony is pulling for his namesake in the 2011 Brickyard 400, Tony Stewart. His favorite racing moment was Lewis Hamilton’s first win in Formula 1, obviously a big moment for all natives of England. When asked which event he’d be most excited to see in 2012 at the newly announced Super Weekend, Tony was eager to return for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
We’ll be looking for fans of the day all weekend. So keep your eyes peeled for Cassie, myself and our camera! -Brian
12:45 PM -2012 is already looking very different with a new Super Weekend at The Brickyard. Today the IMS announced that Crown Royal will become the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, July 29, 2012 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The announcement was even followed by a whisky tasting. So we’re off to a great start to this weekend – Daniel.
Crown Royal and the Bricks - coming in 2012
Set-Up Day at the Brickyard
10:45 AM – The 2011 Brickyard 400 has arrived and IMS is making final preparations. We’re all set up in the media center and awaiting the exciting activities! We’ll be covering everything from crazy fans to food being made in the drivers’ garages. At about 11:30 AM today, a HUGE announcement regarding next year’s Brickyard 400 will take place! We’ll be covering it, so check back later to get full details.
If you’re sitting at home wishing you could be here then open this link: Brickyard Tickets and purchase your weekend tickets! Concerts, autograph sessions and great NASCAR racing will be lighting up the Speedway, you don’t want to miss out! Follow us on Twitter (@IMS) and “like” our Facebook page to stay up-to-date all weekend as well! – Cassie
I’m not going to feed you a cheesy pick up line about the ‘hottest party of the summer’ or try to seduce you with Playboy’s smokin’ red headed Playmate, AJ Alexander. I’m not going to entice you with a bikini and hot body contest hosted by Colt’s punter Pat McAfee. I’m not going to tempt you with Live Nation concert tickets, and I’m certainly not going to lure you in with a headlining performance by multi-platinum R&B, hip hop and reggae fusion recording artist Iyaz.
No, I would never do those things to you.
But if by chance one or all of those things were to pique your interest, I’d be happy to tell you more. Oh – I should go on? Okay, you win.
On Sunday, July 31, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host the second annual Brickyard Beach Bash at the Brickyard 400 sponsored by RadioNOW. Beginning at 10 am, party-goers can enjoy swimming pools, beer pong, volleyball, go-go dancers, and a dance party with DJ Indiana Jones and Gabby Love. Get your picture taken with May 2008 Playboy Playmate, AJ Alexander or join in the bikini and hot body contest hosted by Pat McAfee – each winner will receive $500!
2010 Beach Bash
Live Nation will also be on-site giving away tickets to concerts including Kings of Leon, Incubus and the Identity Festival. Speaking of concerts, you won’t want to miss the live performance by Iyaz of his hit singles “Replay” and “Pretty Girls.” The party goes on until the checkered flag waves.
Sound good? Great.
All you need to do is be 18 or over and have any race day ticket for admission. What’s that? You want a VIP pass? Alright, lean in and read closely. Show up at one of the follow locations and find one of the IMS Street Team members. Tell them I sent you.
2010 Beach Bash
Wednesday, July 27: Champps (downtown) 10pm – 2am ; 350 W. Maryland St., Indianapolis, IN
Friday, July 29: Bartini’s 10pm – 2am ; 39 West Jackson Place, Indianapolis, IN
Saturday, July 30: Sensu 10pm – 2am ; 225 South Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
2011 Brickyard 400 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2011 Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 31 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Race Day ticket prices start at just $30. Fans can buy tickets online at www.imstix.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Looking back, I doubt anyone can put a finger on precisely when they first met. But it was exactly the way everyone tells you it should be: fun. There was laughter, plenty of laughter and good times though, of course, the cynics swore it wouldn’t last. There were times when their antics together made them the talk of the town. There were times when new circles embraced them simply because they made more sense together than either of them ever could apart. And later this month, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they will appear together for the Brickyard 400.
Of course, I am talking about racing and music.
The Brickyard 400 presented by BigMachineRecords.com will showcase multiple music artists from the Big Machine label prior to the start of the race on Sunday, July 31st. Here’s a breakdown of all the possible variations as to what this means for fans:
If… You love the IMS = you should come.
If… You love music = you should come.
If… You love NASCAR = you should come.
If… You love the IMS + You love music = you should come.
If… You love IMS + You love NASCAR = you should come.
If… You love music + You love NASCAR = you should come.
If… You love IMS + You love NASCAR + You love music = you should come
No matter which one of the above best describes you, there’s at least one good reason to make plans to be here for race day. Take a look at the full music and race day line up and grab your tickets now because if there are two things better suited for each other than music and racing, I’ve yet to meet them.
The Brickyard 400 is quickly approaching and while I’ll be perfectly content interning behind the scenes with the media department, it’s great to imagine what I’d be doing if I were attending as a fan. Conveniently enough, the Build Your Own Experience program allows me to do just that! Building your own experience consists of choosing different icons that represent the way you plan to spend your Brickyard 400 weekend then sharing it with your friends and family all over the web.
So I decided to dedicate a few moments of the work day to building my own Brickyard experience. It was hard to narrow down the things I would want to experience at the Brickyard 400; I didn’t want to miss out on anything!
I had finally chosen the icons that would be the perfect way for me to spend my Brickyard 400 weekend. I decided I would definitely go with a large group of friends, and we would camp out starting Thursday, the first day the camping lots open. Thursday is also the Hauler Parade. I’ve never been, but the pictures from last year’s Hauler Parade look like a great time that I would definitely want to be a part of!
On Friday, my friends and I would spend time in the infield, bring our own cooler and whip something up on the grill for lunch all while watching practice. (But just because I chose to grill out on my Brickyard 400 weekend doesn’t mean I’d pass up a Brickyard Burger at one of the concession stands)
Saturday at this year’s Brickyard 400 is something I would have to attend! The first annual Brickfest is taking place. An exciting day of qualifications and a great concert to end it all, how could anyone pass up Quals Day at the Brickyard 400 this year? I’d also spend some time around Gasoline Alley, and kiss the bricks if I got the chance!
Sunday is race day, and I chose the checkered flag icon because I can’t wait to see who wins! Any race at Indy is exciting and winning here has got to be a rush! After the race and once I got home, I’d continue to stay up to date with the Brickyard 400 and IMS events through Facebook, Twitter, and the IMS website, just as I already do.
That pretty much sums up my Brickyard experience. What would yours include? Build your own and share it with us and all of your friends! Don’t forget to purchase your 2011 Brickyard 400 tickets, can’t wait to see you there….except I’ll be seeing you through the windows of the media center while I’m hard at work…
Sometimes, it’s easier to be a cynic — to look at things glass half full and what not. Wednesday, I drove two hours through the cornfields of Indiana and Ohio to step out of my temperate 72 degree, air-conditioned car and out into 100 degree, humid heat. There were noises, lots of loud noises and oh, by the way, did I mention the dirt and dust? Yes, it was everywhere.
OH and did I mention…. no, no, I honestly can’t go any further. This week, members of both the INDYCAR and IMS staff headed to Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio and the 7th annual Prelude to the Dream (Read more here) to support Tony Kanaan as he represented the IZOD IndyCar Series in the event. And admittedly, like any good race fan, I can only look back on the evening, humidity and dirt included, with rose-colored glasses.
A perfect night of racing
The event, which supports Children’s Hospitals across the nation puts drivers from a variety of racing series behind the wheel of Late Model stock cars running around the half-mile oval at Eldora. Tony’s team, which included Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers, Marcos Ambrose, Dave Blaney and Aric Almirola, represented Children’s Medical Center Dallas.
Okay, now I get to be “glass half full” because wow, how cool to watch some of the best drivers out there today all side-by-side in support of a great cause. Or seriously, how great to catch them patting each other on the back or joking together in the paddock. It reminded me of a friend who once said “racing is racing, no matter who sanctions it.” It’s hard to agree until you head to an event where the racing community is united like they were at Prelude to the Dream.
Just like at the IMS, plenty of drivers from different series to watch!
I watched as the familar paint scheme of Tony’s Indy car slide around a dirt track on a stock car and laughed when I caught the “fine print” telling fans that they could see TK run at speeds over 220 mph on Versus this Saturday.
The finer points of TK's paint scheme
Sliding around on the dirt track
I enjoyed walking through “pit lane” (or dirt lane, if you will…) and catching some of NASCAR’s stars, like Denny Hamlin driving in support of his Denny Hamlin Foundation, and realizing that I would see the same drivers in just a few short weeks at the Brickyard 400. And I found humor as Tony realized one of the differences between an Indy-style car and a stock car (see below!)
Denny Hamlin consults on some tire damage
Different way to get out of the driver's seat
But mostly, I simply kicked back and enjoyed as some of the best drivers competed for a wonderful cause. Just like at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, fans had the chance to watch more than just one racing series represented. Check out a few more photos here and share below. Did you make it out to Eldora this week? Do you think any of the drivers that competed will take a stab at the INDYCAR World Championships $5 Million Challenge this October?
Build Your Own Brickyard Experience is an interactive fan website that allows you to learn more about Brickyard experiences, choose how you would build your own experience, and then share what your Brickyard 400 experience looks like with friends and family. This blog series follows Brickyard 400 fans and their experience and tips for attending a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In this edition, a die-hard NASCAR fan offers up her tips for attending the Brickyard 400.
About our die-hard NASCAR fan: Nicie is a retired Head Start Preschool teacher and now works part time as a monitor on the Head Start Preschool bus. Her spare time is always filled by anything and everything NASCAR. Nicie has traveled from Southern California for the Brickyard 400 for the past six years.
Do you attend any other races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Nicie has dragged her husband, a retired Marine, to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway time and time again so that they can experience the live thrill of racing, and he himself has grown to love the sport. Her son is an avid MotoGP fan and returns to the track every year for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. Her love of the sport has also rubbed off on her friends who have started to attend events at the California Speedway. Nicie would love to get her friends to Indy this year.
What’s special about the Brickyard? The fans are the best part of the Brickyard 400, according to Nicie. She loves to cheer for the #2 Miller Lite car and ironically always seems to end up next to a Bud fan. Nicie believes the fans get special treatment at the Brickyard because the service is top of the line.
What’s her advice for a Rookie Race Attendee? Nicie’s advice for first-time NASCAR attendees is to buy a program and listen to the commentators. Doing both of those things will make it easier to understand the rules of the race. If you don’t want to buy a program, you can always ask the person in the seat beside you. Nicie is also a big fan of the yellow shirts. She says they are more than helpful.
Kurt Busch at the 2010 Brickyard 400
What’s her favorite NASCAR moment? Nicie has a hard time choosing a favorite NASCAR moment because she loves them all. “I’m just a loving NASCAR fan!” she explained.
Ready to Build Your Own Brickyard Experience? Start by checking out what a die-hard NASCAR fan might do to build their own Brickyard Experience here!
Fan of everything IMS? Check out our post from last month here. Bringing out your family? Read more about what a family experience might look like here. Young Professional? Check out the first post in this series here!
Watching Martinsville today and thinking of July’s Brickyard 400? We’re just as excited for racing action here in Indy and have a deal for fans to come out and catch it!
The first 25 customers on Monday, April 4 2011, to buy a Brickyard 400 reserved seat race day ticket will receive one (1) complimentary Practice Day Ticket for Friday, July 29 2011.
Current Brickyard 400 reserved seat ticket holders also are eligible to become one of the 25 participants in this special offer if they purchase a practice or qualification day ticket for race weekend.
To qualify as one of the 25 recipients of this special benefit, purchase Brickyard 400 tickets at IMSTix.com and enter the promotional code 400Prac. Customers also can call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and and 16th Street between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m./ET on Monday.
IMS will notify by e-mail the 25 customers who receive this special benefit. We’ll see you this summer out at the Brickyard!
Build Your Own Brickyard Experience is an interactive fan website that allows you to learn more about Brickyard experiences, choose how you would build your own experience, and then share what your Brickyard 400 experience looks like with friends and family.
This blog series follows Brickyard 400 fans and their experience and tips for attending a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Are you new to the Brickyard 400? Jennifer Meyering, blogging to share her experiences as the winner of an all-expenses paid trip to the 2011 Brickyard 400 race from NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin (read more here), shares how she will build her own Brickyard Experience:
Recently, I checked out this great website from the IMS that tells you about the various Brickyard 400 race weekend activities and lets you “Build Your Own Brickyard” experience. I was lucky enough to win my tickets and a trip to this year’s Brickyard 400 from Denny Hamlin in a Twitter contest, but I still decided to give it a try! Here are some of the activities I picked for my Brickyard Experience, and why…
The first thing I looked for was a chance to visit Gasoline Alley. I mean, isn’t this part of the ultimate Indy Motor Speedway experience? To be able to see the cars, crews, and maybe a driver or two, go back and forth- that’s what Gasoline Alley is about to me. I had to include this in my experience.
Another thing I included was Kiss the Bricks. Again, when you think of Indy Motor Speedway, you think of that yard of bricks that the winner gets to kiss. And isn’t the name of the race the BRICKyard 400… That right there tells you how important the bricks are. For me, no Brickyard 400 experience would be complete without including “Kiss the Bricks”.
Fans pose and Kiss the Bricks during the 2010 Brickyard 400 weekend
One of my son’s favorite things about NASCAR is the pit stops. He often plays with his Legos and makes cars and then pretends to take them through pit stops. He loves to talk about changing tires and carrying tires and fueling the car. I had to include “Time for a Pit Stop” on my Brickyard Experience.
A young fan takes a pit stop challenge
During our previous race experience, we were able to go back and see teams working on the cars in the garages. This was one of the highlights of our race weekend, because we found out just how wonderful all the team members are on the race teams. We were able to interact with many of them and they showed us how NASCAR really does care about it’s fans. So when I saw that I could include “NASCAR Garage Area” as part of my Brickyard Experience, I couldn’t pass it up!
A glimpse into Juan Pablo Montoya's Garage
One of the great things about NASCAR is how fan-friendly the drivers are. They rarely pass up a chance to sign autographs and give back to the fans. My son loves collecting autographs, and, well, so do I! When I was looking around the website at the various experiences, I saw that there was not one, but two experiences I could add to try to get autographs- “Thunder Alley” and “Can You Sign My…?”
Another experience that was an absolute necessity to add was the “And the Winner is…” To be able to see a driver win one of the biggest races in the NASCAR season in person is just so exciting! Even though going to a race is about much more than seeing who takes the checkered flag, seeing that is definitely high on the list of must-do’s!
During a NASCAR race (or practice), it’s great to be able to listen to the interaction between a driver and his crew on the scanners. Also, as a parent, the scanners and headphones are great for decreasing the noise of the cars for kids. My son loves being able to switch back and forth between drivers and hear what they say! These reasons are why I added the “Scanning all Frequencies” to my Brickyard 400 experience.
There were many other great options that I added to my Brickyard 400 Experience. Some of them include, eating hot dogs, watching qualifying and practice, and taking lots of pictures (lots and lots!). Honestly, it was hard to choose from all the different things there are to do when attending the Brickyard 400. And if I went back and made my experience again, I bet it wouldn’t look the same- something else would catch my eye and I would that!!!
Ready to Build Your Own Brickyard Experience? Check out what Jennifer’s experience looks like here.
New to this blog series? Check out the first post from a young professional in this series here.