Last weekend I experienced something I have absolutely no interest in-- had you asked me a few weeks prior! Being somewhat of a cultural snob (I'm afraid it is a bit inherent as a classical musician), I never thought I'd derive enjoyment from seeing cars going around in a circle really quickly. But, circumstances presented themselves such that I was offered a box seat ticket to the Indianapolis 500, and of course I accepted. When else would I encounter such an offer?
One of my closest friends, Robin, is dating a man who shares my last name. It's odd, yet wonderful. He was the one who offered the ticket, so not only did I get to see a close friend and meet her boyfriend, but I also got to meet a whole slew of Meidells that, until recently, I didn't know existed! We must be related somehow from generations ago, but I don't know enough about my own genealogy to know how or when.
The race was surprisingly amazing. We were in a box, which is on the ground level. I was sitting in the fourth row of seats, right next to the very thick fence and the photographers. Our seats were between the start and the first turn (the oval is 2.5 miles around). And, I have to say, cars going around really quickly is a LOT more exciting than I'd ever thought! These cars get up to speeds of 220 miles per hour, so even though the track is 2.5 miles around, they come past incredibly frequently. From where we were sitting, we had a perfect view of the first straightaway, where a lot of passing happened, and the first curve. The SOUND was intense. I didn't have the wherewithal to bring my sound level meter, but I am SO glad I had several pairs of ear plugs. I ended up only using the foam in-ear plugs, as that was enough to deaden the sound to appropriately safe levels.
As the cars went in for their first pit stop (which we could also see from our seats), I took out my ear plugs for a few laps. It was SO LOUD, but it was also very cool. The noise and the vibrations of the cars going past-- it was a full body experience. And I was just sitting there! The cars go by so quickly that you can't see their logos-- streaks of orange or black or white is all you could see. It was just incredible!
And there were SO MANY people. Approximately 300,000 people come to the race every year. I've never seen anything like it. You can't see the other sides of the track, but everywhere you look, the stands are filled with people. Just incredible!
Below are some photos from the day. It was really something, made extra special because I got to meet 6 long-lost relatives and spend time with Robin. It was truly an experience of a life time.