A Smaller View: Hannah’s first 500

IndyCar commentary — By on June 3, 2011 8:32 am

A Smaller View chronicles the adventures of a nine-year-old girl as she takes advantage of the new junior credential program at IMS. Our junior blogger will submit reports on her experiences throughout the Month of May. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to present a view of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through the eyes of the next generation!


My first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race was a hot day.  At 14th and Main Street, we park cars at a building there and sell bottled water and ear plugs for our softball team.  I have always wondered why it was so warm on race day.  That answered one of my questions:  that’s why we sell water on race day.  We sold over 150 ear plugs, too — that’s a lot of ear plugs!  I ran the stand by myself, but my friend Lena helped me.  I made a lot with me being just a kid.

After we did all of that, my dad and I had a long walk ahead of us.  It felt like we walked 40 miles.  When we were in line, this man dropped a $20 on the ground, and I was honest and gave it to the owner.  He gave me a $1 reward.  This other man outside the track was handing out fake one million dollar bills!

The walk was warm and sweaty and made my feet hurt.  But I was so excited!  I was wearing the black t-shirt the Panther crew gave me, and I had their Panther tattoo on my arm.  I was also wearing a pink Danica hat that I’ve had for a long time.  Danica signed it on Community Day a long time ago, but it barely still fits.

Our seats were in the Northeast Vista.  I went with my dad and grandpa to the ticket office when we bought the tickets a few weeks ago.  The ticket lady was very nice.

When I got up in the stands, it felt good to sit down for once.  My cousin Michael (age 13) sat with us, too.  He was listening to the spotters and drivers on the scanner.  He was really into it.  It was his first race, too.  We could see the spotters on top of the stands.  I think Trevor from Panther was up there.  Michael also got to see the Fearless at the 500 Hot Wheels truck make the world record jump.

The national anthem was beautiful, and the Stealth Bomber looked like a Star Wars ship.  It was exciting to see my favorite drivers all lined up together.  The smokers that were around me were making me sniffy and itchy, and that was not a fun time.  I had to put a wet towel on my face.  Finally, we just moved down a few rows to some empty seats away from the smokers.

The start of the race was very exciting.  There was a big build-up.  The cars sounded like bobcats roaring.

There was only one wreck that we could see the end of.  All the others were in another part of the track.

There was smoke and fumes, and it was very humid.

It got boring when the cars went round and round on the yellow lights.  My dad took me to the concession stand for some Powerade, and we stood by the fence as the cars went past.

Danica was in the lead for a while, and everyone cheered.  When JR was in first place on the last lap, it made me excited!  But when he hit the wall, it made me so mad that I screamed.  Dan Wheldon won.

When I was in the tunnel, the race cars went over me and I felt a vibration.

Guess what — I got a ticket to the Las Vegas championship race for free!  After that, we had another long walk back and got a free Sundrop drink and a cozy, too.

My happiest moment was just thinking about this being my first race.  I hope I get to go back for every year!

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