Hats off – or rather on – to the 12 dedicated volunteer IndyCar Observers stationed at their posts around the track with no shade. The dozen guys – no females this week – are all experienced oval Observers.
For the Indianapolis 500 race this year, there were nearly 70 such volunteers including two women. For the first time, one of their own – Fred Kurtz – made a beautiful hard-bound coffee table photo album chronicling the Indy 500 crew and their positions. These books were handed out this weekend. That crew had nearly 800 years of experience among their ranks, with one volunteer racking up 48 years at the Indy 500. Well done Observers!
For those who don’t quite get it about just how difficult it is to be a race car driver on an oval track (or any track), try taking a Pace Car ride in a Chevrolet SS rear wheel drive sedan with Larry Foyt, as did I Saturday noon. Photojournalist Annie Profitt and Leah were with me making a couple of laps around the 2-mile speedway. I have a new appreciation for just how much physical fitness and training is needed, how G Forces can affect your neck, and just how fast things go whizzing by as one is trying to concentrate on many things – multi-tasking to the nth degree. Race Car Drivers are truly athletes.
And it’s very comforting to see SAFER walls all around the track. Hopefully they will not be needed.
The other support group this weekend was the Vintage indycar Legends cars, which did parade/exhibition laps at speed.