I announced this on my Facebook page yesterday and I don't think I've ever been more excited about anything in my life than I am for what is to take place on Monday.
This event has been a year in the making and started with this video blog from last year
After I finished making the video I was told, "Keep in touch, we may just want to have you be an honorary starter for a day of practice next year." And guess what... They did!
On Monday, May 13th I will be the honorary starter for the third day of practice for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Being the honorary starter may not seem like much. In fact, I won't even be in the flag stand (I will however be on a platform on the pit wall very much like Pat Vidan use to have) and I have just one flag to waive and that is the green. I waive flags all the time and I can't even guess how many times I waive the green, yellow, white, and checkereds on a typical USAC .25 or SKUSA weekend. This isn't a typical weekend though. I get the chance to waive a flag at racing's most hallowed grounds.
A book I used to read and reread written by the late Tom Carnegie when I was younger, Indy 500: More Than a Race had many pictures of both Pat Vidan and Duane Sweeney who was the chief starter of The 500 who gave me the checkered flag in the video. I spent many, and I do mean many, days and nights dreaming of the day I could be at the track, in the month of May, with a flag in hand. For some people that get the chance to be an honorary starter I'm sure it's a rush; and why wouldn't it be? To be track level with the flag that starts the day is nothing short of amazing. For myself, though, this is going to be a moment that will be a lifelong dream fulfilled. It will be a singular moment that will never be forgotten and may never be duplicated. I have no idea what to expect when something has been long been dreamt about comes true. That's what this is for me. This isn't just one flag, this is playing a very minor part in what I consider to be one of the world's greatest sporting events. This is something that, even at the age of four when my dad bought me a novelty checkered flag on a day of practice I thought of. Oh, I did a number on that flag as each car passed at over 200mph and I loved thinking that maybe someday I would be the one with the flags that matter. Come Monday, for one green flag in the morning, I will be.