Fifth and Favorite Season

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Sixty degrees and partly sunny is a beautiful forecast for any Midwest city. However, it’s not all that common of a forecast in Cleveland, OH in early December. Personally, I’m a big fan of all four seasons and the changes in weather & aesthetics that come with them here on the Lake Erie coast, but I can say for certain that not everyone who lives here is. Being able to drive home from work with my windows down and then in to work the next morning with my moonroof open made me think about all the road trips I had taken over the past year and how much fun I had on each one of them. Many of them were for IndyCar and it made me miss being at the tracks and the city of Indianapolis, in particular. I started to countdown in my head to the next race & happened to realize that we are just past the halfway mark between Indy 500’s! Kind of exciting!

The other reason I had Indy on the mind was because of the big reveal earlier this week of the Borg-Warner Trophy with a new face on it! That’s right, Tony Kanaan (or TK, as IndyCar fans & family alike refer to him) is now adorning the gorgeous silver trophy in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum w his forever-smiling face. And I have to make mention that the placement of him (the 100th face on the trophy, by the way) couldn’t have been more perfect. Tony spoke on it as well, at the unveiling this past Tuesday:

“Growing up seeing all the big names winning, and then lately having my two best friends Dan (Wheldon) and Dario (Franchitti) winning and putting my face right beside them is an honor,” Kanaan said. “To have the three of us in a row is like somebody had a script a long time ago, and they said that this is what’s going to happen. With such a tragic end of Dan’s career and with Dario retiring, it’s an honor to be right beside them.”

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The museum always brings a tear to my eye, especially when I see Dan’s #98 William Rast car in the exhibit – the exact one he was running when he won the 2011 Indianapolis 500. Now the three of them together on the Borg for eternity will not only make me tear up but more than likely, crack a smile or maybe even a laugh once I get to thinking about those three wonderful guys! Emotion and racing have always gone hand-in-hand for me though, so I am very much looking forward to visiting the Museum again in May 2014!

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Allow me to note however, if you live in the Indianapolis area, or are up for a road trip of your own to beat the winter blues, you could go much sooner! The IMS Hall of Fame Museum is open year round except for Thanksgiving & Christmas day. There’s a ton to see and a lot of history to either learn about or relive, depending on how long you’ve been following the series! From pencil renderings of EVERY Indy 500 Champion along the back wall, to vintage toys & tickets, to winning machines driven by Ray Harroun & A.J. Foyt, Jr., the museum has it all and is definitely perfect for a day trip if you are missing the magic of the track, here in the offseason.

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If you are interested in taking the grounds tour, make sure you go soon, seeing as they are always weather permitting and officially end December 14th. I for one would love to ride around on the track in the snow, or even take a walk around it, but alas, it doesn’t work that way and my dream of making a snow angel on T1 will simply have to remain a fantasy. But hey, even without that… it’s still a great experience! I did the grounds tour a few years ago and it was quite a treat to take a leisurely lap on the same track as “the Greats” and to get access to areas of the Speedway you don’t normally receive.

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One of the coolest things about a trip to the IMS Museum is that you can go with friends, take the kids, venture solo or even book a group visit for your office, all within a budget because of the incredibly reasonable admission prices – or better yet, check it out on December 20th, when admission will be free as part of a holiday promotion throughout greater Indianapolis! Either way, you and your crew will have plenty of spending cash left at the end of the day to visit the gift shop to pick up a memento for yourself or do some holiday shopping for the race fan in your family, grab a bite to eat, or even make a donation to this National Historic Landmark!

Recalling all the things I love at the Speedway (other than the incomparable Indianapolis 500) is causing me to seriously consider a winter road trip… because I am definitely missing my most favorite season of the year: racing season.