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Indy 500 Qualifying Day: I evidently don’t need any qualifications

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In one of those mix-ups that occasionally happens, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway mistook me for someone of importance. Before they could discover their error, I snatched up their offer for media credentials. (I love the word “credentials.” I have credentials! I’m credentialed!) That’s how I found myself wandering around the speedway last Saturday, drinking as much free Coke Zero as my bladder could hold.

First, I picked up my badge and pin from the administration office. I also grabbed a handy spotter’s guide, which is like a birdspotter’s guide, if birds had corporate logos. (Hey birds, smarten up and you can trade your nappy nests for super sweet birdhouses!) I also got a parking sticker that got me a prime space only a quarter of a mile away from the stands instead of miles away from the stands like everyone else.

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I headed into the garage area, where I saw a guy in an Herbalife jumpsuit smoking a cigarette. Ha! Didn’t score a picture of that though. I did manage to hone in on a source of cookies and soda, because that is my magical superpower in life.

I saw Sarah Fisher! (She’s only 23 days older than me.) Here in Indiana, she’s on TV every other second hawking AAA auto insurance, so I feel like I know her.

It’s funny that they spend tons of money to make their cars go 225mph, and yet they have to push them to the pit area. When I have to push my car, there’s definitely something wrong with it.

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For an Indy car racetrack, there are a surprising number of motorcycles around. You might mistake this place for a Motocross track.

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The Gordon Pipers were running around playing drums and bagpipes. I started to have flashbacks to my first 5K at the Indy Irishfest.

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Then I headed up to the cafeteria, where I got a free lunch. They tried to tempt me with cake. Mmm, sweet, sweet, cake

Don’t try to ply me with sugar, motor speedway! I headed for the salad bar, somewhat reluctantly.

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There was a rose in the women’s bathroom. While I appreciate the effort, they didn’t really pull it off, and the overall effect kinda creeped me out.

Then I headed to the stands and watched several cars run the track. They make a very loud VROOOOMM sound as they go by, but that VROOOOMM should be in 2400pt bold font to truly express the sound. Then I headed down to pit row, where my geek girl heart went all a flutter.

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Here was the booth where they tracked the official timing results! And the approaching weather! And OMG it’s Mini-Macaroni’s twin sister!!

And here’s Mini-Macaroni:

Mini-Macaroni

Yes, they were using the exact same, cheap-ass, Acer netbook that I own. I hope theirs is more reliable than mine, which had another tantrum last week and is currently sitting in the corner decharging. Seriously though, I spent more time staring at these computer screens than I did ogling any cars or racecar drivers, because I am a sad, sad, person.

I popped up into the media center and made-believe I was an actual journalist for a few minutes. Then I got sick of the bleak career outlook and the need for actual factual reporting and went back to being a blogger.

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Then I headed down to the press conference room. I was there for about 30 seconds before an actual racecar driver and his actual hot girlfriend or wife sat down in front of me.

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It was so bizarre. I’ve seen people that attractive on television, but seeing them in person was like running into a triceratops from Jurassic Park in the cafeteria. Some part of my brain assumed they were special effects and not part of reality. I could not comprehend that people like that actually exist and walk around and drink Dasani water like the rest of us. Except, they rip the Dasani label off their water before going in front of the cameras. That’s because real racecar drivers only sport logos they’ve been paid to wear. (Seriously, this is not a joke. All three drivers I saw ripped the labels off their bottles.) They also speak some foreign language that includes words like “setup,” “drive force,” and “whip.” Then someone made a joke about -3 and -5 something-or-others and the whole room cracked up and OMG WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT?!? Before I could feel any chubbier, paler or clueless, I left the room.

I watched a few more racecars go around the track and then decided to call it a day. I want to thank Daniel from the speedway for hooking me up with my fancy badge. Daniel says the speedway is trying to get non-racing fans interested in the race, and in my case they definitely succeeded. It was great to take part in some race-related events before I leave the state. Head on out to the track! If not for the cars and the sunshine, for the funnel cakes and meat on sticks! Don’t worry, you’ll burn off the calories walking back to your car.

Link-ity links:
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12 Comments

Meghan • May 24, 2010 at 8:36 am

I’m so jealous! I was also there on Saturday, but had to park very far away and didn’t have access to any cake.

P.S. That was Rafa Matos sitting in front of you in the press conference.

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Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • May 24, 2010 at 10:27 am

You are so Funny!!! The line about the triceratops made me laugh out freaking loud!!!!

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Lily Fluffbottom • May 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Wow, that looks like a lot of fun! I’ve never been much for racing either… Going fast kind of just makes me sick. But there is something special about a purring engine that roars when stroked correctly, isn’t there?

Did you run into Ricky Bobby?

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Debbi Does Dinner Healthy • May 24, 2010 at 3:06 pm

What do you mean they MISTOOK you for someone of importance? Sheesh! You should have the attitude that you should get credentials and a special badge where ever you go! :-)

Sounds like a fun adventure, I am not a racing fan but I can certainly see the excitedment! Especially as close as you were to the cake, er, I mean the racers.

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Emily • May 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm

What a hoot! Now I wish I could go – and I never thought I’d say that.

Also, sure there was lots of cake, but it didn’t look like the greatest cake. The salad bar and sandwich looked yummier to me!

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Terri B • May 25, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I am DEFINATELY jealous! I used to work for a company based in Indy, and I LOVED this time of year in Indy! We got to go to time trials, bump day, I even went to the race once. SOOO much fun. I haven’t been in Indy in about 7 years. I miss it. Especially at Memorial Day time. Thanks for a trip down memory lane!!

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Amy • May 25, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Hahaha. That guy looks like the French guy that Sasha Baron Cohen played on “Talladega Nights.”

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Mindy • May 26, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Im so jealous Im a huge racing fan. Not so much Indy cars but I would have taken it too ! But I have a question. From a NON Judgmental I use to have a big ass kind of way . I was under the assumption that Indy drivers were TINY ! So is Sara Fishers ass as big as it looks in that picture ? Or is it just the picture ?
Because if it is Im shocked !

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Jocelyn • May 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm

If you liked it, be glad you’re moving to NASCARolina!

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Melissa • May 27, 2010 at 9:36 pm

SO ENVIOUS OF YOU!! I’m going to my first NASCAR race in Charlotte in October with my husband – I VOW to tell EVERYONE starting with the person that takes my ticket that its my first Nascar race EVER! Before you leave Indiana, I have to ask, have you ever seen Bob & Tom in real life?? I’m a huge fan!

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Mom Taxi Julie • May 28, 2010 at 12:22 am

My interenet crapped out right when I was commenting so hopefully this isn’t a double.

That is so cool! But if it was anything like the drag races I went to I wasn’t as exciting after about 1/2 an hour!

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PastaQueen • May 28, 2010 at 9:50 am

@Melissa – I haven’t seen Bob & Tom in real life, at least not that I know of. I’m not really sure what they look like.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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