[ADMIN NOTE: Indy Lights drivers Martin Plowman and James Hinchcliffe were in Kansas this past weekend, performing their duties as Pace Car drivers. Check out what they got into, or their blog first post, here.]
The weekend got off to a windy start
Kansas marked the first weekend that James and I travelled to a non-Firestone Indy Lights race weekend together as part of the Pace Car Team, and it didn’t disappoint. “Hinch and Plowey” sounds like a circus sideshow; we are more like a circus freak show! But less talk about Hinch and more talk about our weekend.
First off, we flew out to sunny Kansas (ironic comment), bright and early Friday morning. We were flying out in style on the IRL’s private jet out of Indianapolis International Airport. We rocked into the INDYCAR aviation hanger, walked inside, no check in lines, no security lines, nothing. “This is the life,” I thought. That was until we boarded the plane, sat down in the second row behind IRL CEO Randy Bernard, and prepared to taxi to the runway.
Six years ago when I first visited Kansas Speedway for an IZOD IndyCar Series race, there was a McDonald’s and the racetrack’s yellow-blue checkerboard seats. That’s about it. Want BBQ? Drive to KC (Masterpiece in Overland Park; also the abbreviation for Kansas City, Mo., about 25 minutes away).
Today, despite the continued sluggish economy, acreage at the confluence of I-70 and I-435 in Wyandotte County continues to be red hot with retail, entertainment and restaurant development.
The latest structures being erected are an 18,000-seat stadium for the Wizards of MLS just off France Family Drive (positioned nicely near the massive Cabela’s, Nebraska Furniture Mart and family-themed water park Great Wolf Lodge) scheduled to open in 2011 and a 100,000-square-foot casino/hotel complex that will overlook Turn 2. Starting in 2012, maybe you’ll be able to place a wager on the race while you’re watching it live.
The Wizard stadium under construction