We havent always had penthouse seats at Indianapolis Motor Speedways Indy 500.
Our Indy journey began 24 years ago in a two-man tent in a local familys backyard and infield seats with a view of the snake pit. Every year we try to improve one thing over the previous yearthis year, we moved into the Penthouse. Our view is down the front stretch and into turn one but the best part especially this year was the roof.
This year marked the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500. Throughout the week, we walked and waited in the garage area fishing for autographs for our 17th signature helmet a white racing helmet with the signatures, car numbers and qualifying speeds of all 33 drivers. The day of the race had a rocky start after two hours of track drying from morning raindrivers stalling and losing mirrorsa three hour rain delay and a sprint to the head of the pack before the next downpourwe couldnt have scripted better racing.
Our Old Town store, Whistle Stop Hobbies, sponsors lap #73 and our money was snapped up by last years Indy race champ, Sam Hornish, Jr., but barely. Winner Dario Franchitti, now no longer just Ashley Judds husband, nearly lead our lap and is every bit the Flying Scotsman.
Having qualified for the pole at 225 miles per hour, only to have it taken from him at the last minute by Helio Castreneves, Franchitti endured a race week filled with mishaps.
Sunday, May 20th was Franchittis birthday and he enjoyed a sheet cake in his face courtesy of teammate, Tony Kanaan. In the garage on Friday, Carboration Day, Franchittis #27 car fell off the lift prior to the final practice. During the race, he cut a 3-inch gash into his Firestone tire and took an extra pit stop to fix it. That extra pit stop, however, was the unexpected strategy that won Franchitti the race and immortalized him forever on the Borg-Warner trophy.
Frank Kozuch is the owner of Whistle Stop Hobbies, 130 S. Royal St., in Old Town. This was his 24th visit to the Indianapolis 500, which he attended with his wife, Amy Fortney Parks, a teacher at Whitman Middle School.