Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

May 17, 2011

Human Behavior At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:25 pm

An interesting project for a motivated student of anthropology looking for an easy A might be studying some of the fans lurking about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. Randy Bernard has made access to garages and drivers even more reachable to a wider age of fans these days, and it shows. There is a wide variety of ages, attire and temperament. Many of the same folks appear year after year, and many are attired in the same checkered flag-themed clothing that gets them noticed.

To me, the most interesting part of a stroll through the garage area is watching them get drawn to drivers like moths to a flame. Some of them sprint through people with more ferocity than Michael Andretti on a golf cart. Many times they do not even know who they are asking an autograph from. They just show up because everyone else did, then they stick their arms out waving Sharpies.

No one knows whether Danica Patrick will take her sponsor money and bolt for NASCAR; the smart money says she will. NASCAR has become adept at making their drivers almost as inaccessible as Formula 1 drivers except for carefully choreographed events that are micromanaged. Therefore, she may actually get a break. They moved the Andretti practice pit stalls all the way down to the north end beyond the boundaries where fans can go, and that has reduced the gawker crowd that gummed up that particular set of pit boxes over the years. No sign of the Danica ‘popemobile’ golf cart either.

Yesterday, however, I actually felt sorry for her. She was on her way to the car….WALKING…and she was swarmed the moment she appeared. The only problem was she needed to pee. She told the crowd she would be right back after a visit to the bathroom, so most of the crowd waited. Many of the women followed her into the sh!tter. That is a little over the top. No wonder she scowls.

The most egregious abusers of the privilege are the type who lug suitcases around and hoard pictures from boxes in front of garages. Then they hound drivers repeatedly for multiple signatures that no doubt later show up in some form on eBay. I do not understand such greedy behavior. I like walking through occasionally and saying hello to acquaintances, but my thrill involves watching the actual cars run and listening to the communication between driver and crew as they set the car up.

The most important thing is that more people are attending, and that is more proof that Indy Racing continues to grow.

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