If you’re looking for Verizon IndyCar Series drivers tonight — as the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 gets rolling in Milwaukee — the place to be is downtown at the IndyFest Street party.
The event, which will be from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Hilton City Center, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave., offers a party atmosphere with music and Miller brand beers, as well as a VIP area called “Beer, Cheese & Charity,” where fans can rub shoulders with IndyCar drivers and the staffs that travel across the country with the racers.
2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, right, is one of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers who visits patients of children's hospitals across the country through the Racing For Kids program. The charity is in its 25th year this year and IndyCar is celebrating with a beer and cheese party at IndyFest tonight in downtown Milwaukee. Fans are invited.
Fans who buy a $25 ticket to “Beer, Cheese & Charity” receive unlimited tastes of some of Wisconsin’s most famous beer and cheese brands as well as a chance to chat with drivers, including 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and pole-sitter Ed Carpenter, in an outdoor living-room atmosphere.
Proceeds from the party benefit Racing for Kids on its silver anniversary, this year. The charity travels with the Verizon IndyCar Series, too, and brings drivers for visits to children’s hospitals across the country.
Fans who can’t attend the party, but are headed to the race, can bid on several VIP experiences and memorabilia at the “Beer, Cheese and Charity” online auction at this address: http://qtego.net/auc/racingforkidsmilwaukee .
This entry is one in a continuing series which discusses images from the IndyCar.com photo gallery. This entry reviews the story behind a photo taken at the Milwaukee Mile during the Milwaukee 225 on June 19, 2011.
Each race weekend, a small army of IndyCar staff descends upon the site of the IZOD IndyCar event. The IndyCar series has full-time year-round employees in most key positions, but come race weekend, there are a significant number of part-time employees who assist in all aspects of the weekend’s activities to help make sure the race runs smoothly.
The part-time employees occupy a number of important roles. The most visible of the primarily part-time crews is the Holmatro Safety Team. Most members of the team are full-time firemen or paramedics. The IndyCar Series wants to ensure that drivers and team members get the best possible attention when an incident occurs.
Some of the other areas with significant part-time help include timing and scoring, pit techs, observers, and even photographers. All of the part-time “Weekend Warriors” I have worked with are truly professionals who take their responsibilities seriously. I often see a strong camaraderie among members of the various support teams.
Many of the part-timers take time away from their primary job and their family to be involved in a sport for which they have a deep passion. You may be surprised by the diverse occupations of these part-time employees when they are away from the track. For example, one of the observers is a County Superior Court Judge, and one of the pit techs is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives.
During a typical race weekend, I try to shoot pictures of the various IndyCar personnel as they handle their duties. I know they are not working for the notoriety, but for many part-timers, the memories of their race weekends are more valuable than the compensation they receive, and sometimes the pictures we take help keep those good memories alive.
Here are a few more photos of some part-time employees at work at the Milwaukee 225.
Do you have any IndyCar “Weekend Warriors” stories to share?