There’s nothing like an eight-hour road trip to teach you some of life’s great lessons.
Lesson #1: Don’t take eight-hour road trips. I actually had a flight booked to travel with the crew, but when I heard that Emily (BHA office manager/client services) was going to make the drive by herself, I put on my big-girl pants and offered my unparalleled, road-trip companion services.
So there we were, cruising along I-65 when we passed the outlet mall in Columbus, Indiana.
“Hey! There’s an outlet mall here?!” said Emily, to which I replied, “Yep.”
We kept driving. We stopped for lunch. (Riveting, I know. Just wait… it gets better). We kept driving. And then it happened.
“Hey! There’s another outlet mall here?!” said Emily.
Oh yes, that happened. How one manages to drive nearly a half-hour in the wrong direction is out of my comprehension but apparently inside of my arsenal of skills. It’s okay – gas is cheap these days.
Lesson #2: Never underestimate the awesomeness of Bryan Herta. When we finally made it to Barber, Bryan arrived at the track and I discovered the best thing that happened all weekend. Behold:
Lesson #3: Some days you’re the bug. Some days you’re the windshield. At the beginning of every race, I get really nervous. Not because I need to get Alex to driver intros in time. Not because I’m afraid that that freakin’ pyro flame on the pre-race stage will singe off my eyebrows (note: I am afraid of that). But mainly because I am a race fan at heart and each time we go out there, I want to things to be fun, safe and exciting.
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama…. here we go. I’ve got my headphones on… listening intently. “Green flag next time by.” The anticipation, as always, is killing me. The cars come around and race control exclaims, “Green! Green! Green!”
I’m not even sure what I heard Tag say, but I look up on the jumbotron and see the #98… just chillin’ in the middle of the track. Anti-climactic, it was. The stuff that no movie, ever, will be made of.
Lesson #4: Unbelievable things happen. But you can’t make this stuff up. I’m still unable to contain my astonishment at the following three completely random things that happened during this race weekend. Join me as we scratch our heads in sheer bewilderment, won’t you?
- We stopped at a sandwich shop (remaining nameless to protect the idiot… I mean… innocent). The kid working behind the counter said, and I quote, “That’s a nice jersey. Barracuda? Are you an Olympian?”
- I met the sweetest little eight-year-old girl in Barber (she’ll be nine this week – I’m sure she’d want me to point that out). We had a long talk, but one of the things she warned me about is that I should watch out for school bullies. Particularly ones who will hold you at gunpoint (Nerf gun, that is) and “force you to drink a beer and get a life-size eagle tattoo on your back.”
- I promised you guys (y’all) some good race weekend attire. I have a good feeling about Long Beach, but Barber didn’t deliver as well as expected. However, I did discover these:
Annnnnnnnd, here’s the quick weekend recap…
The Hot Lap
- Miles traveled by Barracuda Racing crew: 1,012
- Miles traveled by Alex Tagliani in the race: 1
- Tweets Tag sent to Randy Jackson during American Idol while sick on the couch last week: 2
- Crew guys sick with the flu after being around Tag: 5
- Boxes of Airborne & Emergen-C purchased at Walmart near our hotel: The entire stock
- Favorite race market attraction: Barber Motorcycle Museum
- Times we cursed at the internet reception: 638
- Laps completed in the HIGPA: < 1
- Number of unused red Firestone tires after the race weekend: 12
- Times we made fun of Lights driver Troy Castaneda for a shirtless photo with his car in St. Pete: Not enough
- Percentage of team members who want to forget Barber & move on to Long Beach: 100
- #TweetOfTheWeekend: Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Give a man a Barracuda and he wins the Indy 500! #IThinkThatsHowItGoes (from @indycarpeggio)
Round One – St. Petersburg