Saturday, May 14, 2005


AT THE SPEEDWAY. I spent a few hours at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday. "Fast Friday" it is called. It's the eve of Pole Day Qualifications (today), the open-wheeled Indy cars are reaching their highest speeds, and all teams have their drivers trying to find a bit faster way around the 2 1/2-mile oval. I watched Tomas Scheckter turn the fastest lap of the month, just a tick under 228 mph. Ten drivers, including rookie sensation Danica Patrick (yes, that's a girl...er, woman), turned laps at over 226 mph.

SPECTACULAR CRASH. I was there when rookie Paul Dana crashed hard into the turn 2 wall and Sam Hornish, Jr. ran over his debris at over 160 mph. It lifted Sam's car into an airborne backward flip. The car landed upside down and skidded to the infield. Hornish walked away unharmed; Dana is has back fractures and is at Methodist Hospital.

PEACENIK AND FLYBOY. Before thunderstorms rolled in, I watched twenty or so racers run laps. Throughout the day I talked to a man sitting in the stands next to me who turned out to be a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War (flew F-4s) and, more recently, Afghanistan (flew tankers/fuelers from Grissom AFB in Kokomo, Indiana). So a peacenik chatted with a military flyboy for a few hours. Turns out the Lt. Col. also has a son who had attended and played soccer at Olivet Nazarene University (as my daughter now does). I just thought this was interesting.

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