Was it work?
I know someone will ask, “What was Kiyoshi doing in Indianapolis?” And, I would answer, “On my way to Kokomo to see a customer.” Well, it’s true!!!
But, ya see, getting to Kokomo, Indiana from the Bay Area is not a simple feat of getting on a plane and arriving there. Kokomo is about 1 and half hours drive north of Indianapolis. And getting to a 1pm meeting in Kokomo can’t be done if one leaves the same morning as the appointment. I’ve done 2pm meetings in Dallas, that means getting on a plane at 6:30 am and arriving at DFW at 12:30pm (CST). But, getting to Kokomo… means flying out the prior afternoon, doing a plane change in Chicago and arriving in Indianapolis late night.
So, the story goes, what does one do in the morning? I could have driven to Kokomo and find somewhere to hang out from 10am to 1pm. Or, I could have stayed my hotel room until 11am – doing phone calls and email, etc. Or, I could go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway… Hmmm… what would you do?
Yeah, right I stayed in my hotel room!?! NOT!!!!
In 20 days the F1 circus would be showing up for the USGP. I was a bit early, but still I absorb the Indiana air.
What so amazing about Indy is that homes and residences now surround it. I can’t imagine this happening in the Bay Area without all the homeowners fussing about noise and closing down the facility. Just look at the pressure on our airports – San Francisco, San Jose and Reid-Hillview in San Jose. The airports were there LONG before the homes were built around them, but that doesn’t stop the new residence from complaining. But, it’s different in Speedway, Indiana.
My colleague and I visited the Indy Museum, a very affordable $3 admission to walk through rows of significant cars, which raced and won at the famous track. To see how driver safety and technology evolved was fascinating. As racing enthusiast, this was extremely enjoyable, but as a Lotus fanatic the influence of Chapman has left an indelible mark upon the history of Indy.
There proudly displayed was Clark’s Lotus 29, along with photos of Clark, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi, Foyt and Chapman. Videos of Indy history showed Clark and new rear engine cars of Cooper and Chapman. The obvious lead that Lotus had in bring new technology to race cars can be seen in every post 1965 race car. It is simply a thrill to stand surrounded by so much racing history and absorb.
We still had some time to kill, so a mandatory stop in the gift shop and then we took the bus tour of the track. There’s nothing better than getting to see a race than from on track. I kept trying to imagine what it must look like to a driver at 225mph with the stands completely full! The corners seem far apart poking along in the tour bus, but at 1:20 laps, the corners must come quickly and are tighter than they appear on TV. The rubber from the Brickyard 400 could still be seen. I was amazed how deep the entry line was. An early apex here would be disastrous on the corner exit. A late turn in would mean missing the apex and ending up in the wall. The precision that is required at this track is mind boggling.
Preparations were well underway for the USGP. The F1 pits and garages were cleared and being scrubbed down and ready for the F1 circus to arrive.
Anyway, it was time to get on the road to Kokomo… As I drove away from Indy, I glance one last time at the stands, signs and track in my rearview mirror, and felt a satisfaction that I had a chance to inhale one of the many places where Chapman and Lotus made history.