The Trip Begins
  Day 1: Leaving Indy
  Day 2: Leaving Nebraska
  Day 3: Passing Thru Nevada
  Arriving at the Race Track
  Race Setup Day
  Race Day #1
  Race Day #2
  Return to Home

Leaving Safford
Leaving Phoenix
Arriving Indianapolis

The Trip Begins
The Deciding Factor...

For many years, I have enjoyed the IRL (Indy Racing League). Fascinated by the technology, one of my goals in life has been to attend an Indy 500 in Indianapolis, IN. That goal became a reality several years earlier as my friend, Mike, actually pit crews for the Indy Lights. Indy Lights is the class just below the Indy, which is a 7/8 scale of the larger cars. Susan and I both traveled to the 91st running of the Indy 500 with Mike and Susie and were actually allowed in the garages and pit lane.

As time went on, the team that Mike pit crewed for has become larger and larger. They now have five Indy cars, which means they have a very large crew. Transporting these cars on two transporters is a challenge when the courses across the US are further away from Indianapolis, which is usually the home base for all, racing teams.

So Mike volunteered me to help transport and pit crew for the Guthrie Racing team out of Albuquerque, NM if they were ever short-handed.

On a recent lake trip with Mike and Suzie, that opportunity was offered. But the offer was a long one… 14 days away from home. In 26 years of marriage, I have never left my family for more than maybe one night and that has been rare. Although Susan leaves for many conferences throughout the year, this would be my first time away from Susan. So it was a hard decision to make, I finally decided to take the temporary position.

My itinerary would be to fly out of Phoenix and into Indianapolis on Friday. After staying a night at the Guthrie Racing team house, four drivers and two transports would leave at eight in the morning no Saturday. My transport housed three Indy cars and the other transport carried two.

Although there were four days available for travel and we could make it in two, the first leg of the trip would be spread out over the four days. Arriving on Tuesday, the transports would be parked at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. On Tuesday, the majority of the 20-man crew would arrive by air. Wednesday would be set up day. The transport fleet would be allowed to take their assigned positions within the pit area. Once positioned, the task of unloading the cars and gear would begin. First job will be to set up the tents which would be attached to each transport trailer. Next job would be to set up all the equipment and then unload the cars. The rest of the day would be used to begin fine tuning the cars. On Thursday and Friday, testing of the cars would begin with the last run on Friday being the qualifying time which would used to line of the 27 Indy cars in their starting position. Saturday would be a warm up race and then onto the first of two races. On Sunday, the second race would start. Prior to the second race, most of the gear would be preloaded into the transport trailers which would make leaving a bit quicker for the transport team. After receiving a departure time for the pit area, the transport team would begin their return leg back to Indianapolis. Total time for the project was slated for 14 days.

Leaving Safford and Heading to Phoenix...
So, after making the commitment on Tuesday to be the driver, the trip began for me on Friday. Getting up early Friday morning was the start of the long journey ahead. I left Safford around 4:00 in the morning. I departed Phoenix around 10 and arrived in Indianapolis around 5:30 pm.
Sunrise over Arizona

Leaving Phoenix and Heading to Indianapolis
Apache Lake where we spend so much time water skiing.

Arriving at the Team House in Indianapolis
The team house is located very close to their garage. Several crew members and up to about 20 can live here at any time. The furniture in the house was very strange. Only enough to survive on. The house had a lot of rooms, but their were air mattresses all over the house and even one in the corner of a bathroom.

The team manager Dave met me at the airport and took me to the team house where I met a few of the regular crewmembers at the house. After a barbeque, the team was invited to go to the neighbor’s house to the infamous “man cave”. The team house’s neighbor was a yellow shirt (security) at the Indy 500 and the “man cave” is a basement converted to watch football and car races. The neighbors were great offering their hospitality. Eventually, I returned to the team house early to get a good night’s rest.
Continue to the next chapter,
"Day 1: Leaving Indy"
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