I miss trees inside the turns at Indy. I have fond memories of them, including a daring act of carnal lust in the branches in the old Turn 1 snake pit back in 1971. I have no idea how neither the girl who was up there with me or I did not fall out of it. Trees around the track used to change the timbre of engine sounds as the cars circled the track. You could be seated in the penthouse sections of stands and have your view blocked by lots and lots of trees. You could always follow with your ears and Tom Carnegie and for many years that was normal. We all understand forward evolution and the fact that IMS always does anything they do in a first class way, whether it’s making way for a world class Formula 1 circuit or fundamental modifications for motorcycle racing’s top series. Putting the legendary Turn 1 creek safely underground is pretty big. I always miss the trees. I miss wooden grandstands, too.
I don’t miss cinder block outhouses in which you were forced to pee (or worse) into holes in the ground. Graham Hill got that particular hygiene improvement ball rolling in the mid 1960s. I do, however, miss the utter and complete debauchery of the snake pit. It was not for everyone and I am well beyond the age of such participation, but it was a great experience while it lasted.
Whenever I am in Indianapolis, I inevitably end up at the track, in the museum and aboard the tour bus. Changes that have evolved over the years are striking. This year is no different. As the 2008 open wheel season dawns, the center of the sport looks even better than ever.