Saturday, September 24, 2011

Indycars, greyhounds, and potato chips

Bear with me, this will all tie back around to Indycar. 
Almost a year ago, our family dog (Dean) died.  Dean was 11 years old and a beautiful lab and fox hound mix.  Dean was the dog that welcomed both of my boys home from the hospital after their births and he will always be part of our family. He was a wonderful dog and is still greatly missed on a daily basis.  So, last September, we found ourselves grieving the loss of the family dog and it did not take us long to realize the house did not feel right without a dog present.  The search for a new dog was started.  You can never truly replace a dog, but you can come to love another dog while still missing the old dog.  Anyhow as we started the search for a new dog, I became interested in greyhounds.  They have many characteristics that matched the criteria I was looking for (rarely bark *usually, great temperament, low shedding factor, large dog, do not require constant exercise/activity etc).  I was also moved by the greyhound rescue stories; they are treated horribly at racetracks and greyhound racing should be banned!  So after much campaigning, I was able to get my wife to at least consider greyhounds. 
We started researching local greyhound rescue/adoption sites.  I came across a local Greyhound Rescue site;
We filled out the adoption paperwork and submitted it.  While waiting to hear back from them, I found out that they also had three greyhound mix dogs also up for adoption.  Often times when people find a dog that looks like a greyhound, they take the dog to a greyhound rescue organization.  The organization will usually take the dog in, but often time has trouble placing the dog since it is a mix and not a retired racer.  Well you may have already guessed, but I was immediately taken by the three greyhound mix dogs that they had up for adoption. 
We made an appointment to meet the dogs, and one of the dogs (Buddy) immediately picked me.  He walked over and just plopped his head in my lap and looked up at me with his big brown eyes.  I was immediately sold and just needed to hope that the rest of the family would come along.  Needless, to say within a few days, we officially adopted Buddy and he moved in with us.  We also became a part of the larger greyhound community and Buddy will even be appearing in the 2012 USA Defenders of Greyhounds Benefit Calendar (a fundraiser for the rescue shelter).
After adopting Buddy, I learned of an Indycar connection.  Mari Hulman George is a huge supporter Greyhound Recues and of USA Defenders of Greyhounds.  In their Kennel Office, they have a picture of Mari standing outside a Greyhound track holding a banner that reads “Race Cars Not Greyhounds!” You can read more about Mari and Greyhounds on Wikipedia: 
Anyhow, I thought that was a neat connection and one that I was not aware of until after we adopted Buddy, but that is not the reason for the title of today’s blog.  You see in the greyhound community, they have a saying: “Greyhounds are like potato chips, you can’t stop at just one”.  Now, I think that saying also applies to attending Indycar races.  (Attending) Indycar races are like potato chips, you can’t stop at just one. 
I love watching Indycar races on TV, but you can’t really experience the race on TV.  You need to attend a race and feel, smell, touch, taste and see it.  The sensation of the speed is completely different in person versus on TV.  The colors and pageantry have to be experienced in person.  Once you see it in person, it really is hard to stop at just one.  For years, I only attended the Indy 500 (and of course practice days, fast Friday, pole day, bubble day, carb day, etc.)  I attended my first 500 in 1983 at the age of 12 and cheered on Texaco Tom ‘The Gas Man’ to victory.  And, I have attended most 500’s since then (missed a few for various reasons). 
In 2001, I was living in Kansas and I attended the inaugural Indy race at Kansas Speedway that summer.  That was my first time seeing the cars outside of IMS, and I was a little taken aback by the fact you could see all the way around the track.   In 2002, I moved back to Indianapolis and started attending the 500 again.  Last year, I branched out and also took my oldest son to the Indycar race at Kentucky Speedway under the lights.   That was my first night race and it was a fantastic experience.  I loved the night race!  This year, I have attended Indy (Of course!) and I have added road trips to Milwaukee (loved it!) and Mid Ohio (watch for a trip report to be added to the blog soon).  Once again, this October I will head back to Kentucky Speedway as well (sadly this year it is no longer a night race).  So, this year I will have attended 4 of the races and I’ll admit that I’ve even goggled flights to Vegas for the season finale, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards for this year (at least).
Now, I am anxiously awaiting the release of the 2012 schedule; so I can start making plans for next year’s trips.  How about you?  Have you been to a race yet?  If so, how many have you attended?  You see I believe attending an Indycar race is a lot like eating a potato chip.  It is pretty hard to stop at one. 

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