It’s always been a mystery to me why more people don’t get to a race track early so they can listen to the circus come to life.
All the drivers in today’s major races – the Firestone Indy Lights and the IZOD IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto – went out for warmup sessions this morning. There’s no extra charge and it was like watching the Jays take batting practice or the Leafs do drills.
The drivers are like any other athlete – they’re not going to go out to race cold.
Many drivers practiced on full tanks to make sure their race setup was correct. Others were still trying to get their cars to handle correctly. Several teams that have part-time pit crew members practised pit stops.
All in all, it was – and is – well worth the price of admission.
Nine-time Indy 500 champion Davey Hamilton was doing double duty this weekend. He was the colour commentator for the on-site announcing team and he was driving the IZOD IndyCar Series’ two-seater Indy car, giving a special high-speed ride to Erica Hill, an anchor/reporter for the CBS morning news.
Hamilton suffered through one of the Indy car series worst accidents at Texas Motor Speedway in 2001 when his car got airborne and every bone in his lower legs and feet was broken. Doctors initially wanted to amputate but several dozen operations later, Hamilton can walk again and – in fact – is still racing.
But only oval track cars.
“I tried to do some road races,” Hamilton said, “but I just couldn’t handle it physically. My legs and feet would ache and ache. As long as I just have to use the throttle and the brake (on ovals), I’m okay.”
Hamilton plans to race again in the Oswego Classic for supermodifieds on Labour Day weekend at Oswego, N.Y., just across Lake Ontario from Kingston.
Simona de Silvestro, the Swiss woman driving for HVM Racing in the IndyCar Series practices what she preaches. Sponsored by a nuclear power company, which promotes clean energy, she rides a bike between her motorhome and the pits.
Most of the other drivers ride motor scooters.