My may might have ended with some ridiculous tan lines on my feet, but it started at the Meijer store across from my apartment. On a quest for blueberries, I walk in and see a cardboard Marco staring back at me. Goodness, I adore Indy’s passion for the 500. Candied tires and checkered everything.
The planning process for May is definitely stressful, especially whilst trying to fit in a race every other weekend. But on 5.14, we kicked it off with the first-ever all-driver autograph session at the Macy’s in Castleton Square Mall. Mind you, I have a soft spot for this mall. Many-a-day shopping for shoes and cruising for boys. Does ANYONE remember the Units store? Mix-n-match cotton sashes? No?
Anyway, great turnout for the autograph session and the drivers seemed to enjoy the environment. The next week, Macy’s in Glendale got some 2-seater love and Macy’s Greenwood drew a crowd with the Legends.
Opening day was a treat as my bro Lew took me into the trench for the start of practice. Um, WOWA! Best part of my job so far…the places I get to go. Cars peeling out of pit lane on one side and passing me at 220mph on the other.
The week flew by and Pole Day came up fast. It was a beautiful day and a great turnout by the excited fans. VERSUS was rolling in the IZOD Performance Pit and we had fantastic camera views in addition to the cars lined up right in front of us. At one point, all of Row 7 was ladies! IZOD Trophy Girl, Cameron, made her Indy debut and only got called Milka 11 times instead of 24. We’re making progress.
After a stressful bump day, it was time for the whirlwind driver media tour. If you were following the fantastically amazing Dave Lewendowski blog, you didn’t miss a beat. It was fun and tiring and stressful and cool. The peeps at IZOD worked so hard to make each stop special.
Takeaways from the driver media tour: There is such a thing as an airplane seat lottery, you CAN fit 33 Hondas in the middle of Herald Square, balled up in the back of a town car does not make for a good night’s sleep, and Mike Conway can totally get jiggy on the dance floor! (Get well soon, Mike, we need to see more moves.) After a hilarious cab ride to the airport, we were on our way home with 3 hours of sleep and 3 more red carpets to plan.
Ah, Carb Day. I will forever miss what you once were to me. Skip the beer and flip flops, my day started with Good Morning America, transitioned with some Rival Sons and ended with a buttkicking view IZOD Indy Pit Stop Challenge. Reference what I said above about the places I get to go. Being on the track and right next to the wicked talented crews in the pit stop…way totally amazing.
On to Saturday and my Kardashian experience. Graham Rahal scored QuickTrim as a sponsor, so we scored some love on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Kim, Bruce and Kris got up at the crack of dawn to take 2-seater rides. With makeup artist and camera crews in tow, I escorted them to the Indy Racing Experience. Yes, she had on gigantor heels and beautifully teased tresses, but we tracked her out and stuck her in the car with Arie, Jr. (who she adored, by the way). Big smiles and several squeals later, we have a new fan-for-life.
Saturday night, downtown Indy took on a new life with celebs, bands and more. Armed with it’s-Jackson-if-you’re-nasty headsets, we played red carpet police as race fans lined the velvet ropes. IZOD put on a show with what seemed like a party on each corner…Vanity Fair, GQ, models, flashbulbs. Is this Hoosierland? No…it’s sexy side of IndyCar.
So, what can I say about race day? It was. An experience. Little blonde Liza from a little farm in Markleville shuttled around Mark Wahlberg for about four hours that day. Not a shabby job I must say. Race day ops and logistics can be challenging, and as Mario’s passenger for the “Fastest Seat in Sports,” Mark was sharing in many of the same routines as the drivers. Safety briefing, suit on, back and forth down the grid, wired up and buckled in. After his historic ride to catch the field heading the green flag, we had some tense moments dragging him out of the car on pit lane. As in, here Mark, let me hold you so you don’t get run over by this car.
In between watching the incredible race, I ran up and down a billion steps, high-fived a ton of fans and found Kim Kardashian a place to take a nap. It was a good day. I love the Indy 500 more than ever. My one hope though…if you were fired up attending or watching the race this year, then carry that feeling with you the rest of the season. Don’t stop watching and cheering and spreading the word of IZOD IndyCar. We have amazing cars, teams and drivers and lots of amazing races still to come!