Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 4: Sunrise at the Brickyard and Sunset at the Speedrome

Wow! What a day! I am thoroughly exhausted, but I must tell you how my day went, and it started early.

My alarm went off at 5:27AM and before the clock hit 5:50 I was out the door. I was told to be there by 8, but this is an event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I was going to make sure I got there early to soak it all in.

The Mopar Point .25 series Battle at the Brickyard started today and it runs through Saturday. I had no idea what to expect in terms of the track or where it was on the grounds. As I drove down Meridian Street and pulled onto 16th I had memories of all the Indy 500's I had been to. Today traffic was empty unlike the 500, but for me the anticipation of the event was all the same.

The sun was just breaking as I saw the track on my right and as I neared I slowed down and pulled into the tunnel. I have been under than tunnel many times, but it was different. I wasn't a spectator at the world's greatest race course, but rather I was the starter for an event on the grounds. To say I got butterflies would undersell the experience for me. Goosebumps and chills were just the start of it, but the final emotion as I pulled out of the tunnel was elation; pure elation! What added to the elation was the almost cinematic scenery as the sun was now coming up and the mist from the grass in the infield golf course made it seem as if this moment was simply made to be.

I don't care what event it is, if it is at IMS it is a big event. The track was established in 1909 and legends have been made there, and who knows, perhaps one of the kids racing this weekend is destined to carve out their legend on the big track someday.

My sunglasses experiment was somewhat hard to do during the event because I am rather isolated on track, but the few encounters I had still showed that my reflex to avoid eye contact is there, but my reaction time to re-establish eye contact is getting faster.

My day on track was long and hot. I am not the world's best sunscreen applier (I HATE sunscreen, it's so gritty and so yucky) and I have the burns to prove it right now. It was a great time however and I enjoyed flagging an oval event for the first time.

I could talk about racing all day, but my day in terms of sunglasses experiment took a great turn as I was told to go the Indianapolis Speedrome for tonight's Regional midget and Ford Focus midget series race.

I would not be in the flag stand and once again, like my experience at Tri-City speedway (see story at I didn't know what to do exactly. Here's where everything gets interesting and I am open to suggestions as to why this was. During the time I did not have direction I was not in my positional warfare. Was it that I was just too tired to care? Or, was it that I knew no one would know I didn't know what I should be doing because of the sunglasses? I need to think about this one some more.

What I do know is walking to a group of two or more people was easier than before. I didn't have to worry about that initial eye contact. I say in my presentations that I am better in reacting to a conversation that initiating. That being so eye contact seems to be a needed skill to make that initial contact, but with sunglasses that element is taken out of the equation.

I hope someone out there is proud of me when I say I made, "small talk" today. On several occasions I was able to just make witty remarks or other small talky like comments and I felt fluid in it. My mind was able to focus on what to say easier than normal, and I do think it was because I didn't have to worry about the eye contact.

The night flew by and eventually the sun went down. I did find a position within the USAC team and I was opening and closing the track gate outside of turn one. As it became dark the sunglasses had to come off and my normal glasses came on. This is when things get interesting.

As the feature races concluded and the winning cars were pushed through my gate I had the same reflex of avoiding eye contact, but I instantly re-established it forgetting that I no longer had my reflective shields known more commonly as sunglasses. Just in 4 days of use I already have noticed that eye contact, after the initial reflex, was easier.

After I realized a few times that the shields were down it did become hard again, but there is hope because I was able to establish it. Now I wonder if 26 more days of this will reduce that issue after the initial reflex. Will it, or won't it? Only time will tell.

So that was my day. I am burned and have grease all over my arms so I think it best to take care of myself and then get some much needed sleep. I need to be at the track by 7:30 so maybe I can convince myself I don't need to be an hour early. In any event I will post tomorrow, and once again in will be a late post as will, probably, most of my posts until Sunday.


  1. Excellent day, Aaron! You did well.

    Use the sunblock!!

  2. Yes Aaron I am VERY proud of you. I also noticed that you were making 'small talk' outside of my office a couple of weeks ago with Rich.

    More importantly, be proud of yourself! Wow! How far you have come since the writing of "Finding Kansas".