Hey folks, I’m live at Texas Motor Speedway for tonight’s Firestone Twin 275s race, featuring driver Alex Lloyd and the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America IndyCar.
Coverage of the race is available on Versus and begins at 7 p.m. Central Time.
Check back here for updates as the day (and night) progress.
(All times below are Central Time)
4:19 p.m. – And so it begins
Well, here I am at the track. What a crazy feeling to be parked in the infield of this 1.5-mile oval, knowing the drivers will soon be speeding around me at more than 200 miles per hour.
The seats are all empty now, but it isn’t hard to imagine what this place will be like full.
You know, for all the blogging I’ve done about Alex Lloyd and the BSA IndyCar, tonight marks my first time seeing an IndyCar race live. It should be quite an experience.
I’m told that several Boy Scouts will play a part in the pre-race ceremonies, and hundreds more will be watching from the stands. I’ll try to get out and talk to them.
Refresh this post as the night progresses for regular updates from Texas Motor Speedway.
5:55 p.m. – On your mark…
Alex Lloyd and 29 other drivers just passed me on their way to a drivers meeting. He looks cool and calm and ready to race!
Outside the Media Center, two-dozen small scooters sit in a cluster. The drivers motor around on these in the infield so they can save their energy for the race.
Now how do I get one?
6:07 p.m. – Scouts on stage
Just confirmed some exciting news! At 8:30/7:30 Central, a group of Boy Scouts will unfurl the American flag!
Who better to do that than the Scouts, right?
7:16 p.m. – Get set…
Alex and his crew are “trackside” for final preparations and driver introductions.
But they aren’t the only ones in preparation mode. About 75 Scouts and Scouters from Circle Ten Council have gathered here on the grass next to the track holding a massive American flag. A few hundred feet away, another group of Scouts and Scouters gets ready with the Texas flag.
In about 15 minutes, they’ll spread the flags out and lead the crowd in a display of patriotism.
Then… It’s racing time!
8:08 p.m. – Go!
They’re under way here with 61 laps to go. The race is airing live on Versus, and it looks like Alex Lloyd has moved up to 16th after starting 25th. Come on, Alex!
I came inside to the Media Center to upload a few photos. Check ‘em out:
8:14 p.m. – A different kind of uniform
Do you recognize anything on this BSA IndyCar pit crew member’s uniform?
Check out the red No. 19.
The troop numerals are a nice touch, I thought.
That was something that team owner Gail Coyne added to the pit crew uniforms as a nod to the Boy Scout uniform.
8:18 p.m. – Feel the noise
It’s loud here.
I knew that would be the case coming here tonight, and I made sure to Be Prepared and bring earplugs.
But wow. You can literally feel the air pressure change each time the cars pass by you. And thanks to the Doppler effect, you hear the ear-splitting sound a split-second later.
Alex update: He’s in 19th with 31 laps left.
8:44 p.m. – Race 1 is done
Alex Lloyd finishes 14th in the first race, which was won by Dario Franchitti.
Not bad for Alex after starting 25th.
Now there’s an hourlong break before the next race.
Order for the next race is determined by random draw.
9:24 p.m. – 19 for 19
Alex drew position No. 19 for Race 2. The drivers chose a Firestone tire at random and spun it around to reveal their starting position. I was hoping Alex would get a top-10 starting position, but instead it was spot 19 for No. 19.
I guess that’s fitting!
10:14 p.m. – Fastest 7 seconds ever
Watching these guys change four tires, fill the gas, and make other adjustments in roughly seven seconds is amazing. Especially considering it takes my mechanic four hours to rotate my tires and change the oil.
When it’s time for the No. 19 car to pit, the pit crew members bounce in position as Alex Lloyd’s car approaches. Hunched over and on their toes, the crew members look like a bunch of infielders awaiting a hard ground ball.
When the car comes to a complete stop, the six-member team springs into action simultaneously. They’ve practiced this before, and it shows.
First, the car gets pumped up on a pneumatic jack that’s built in to the car. No hand pumping here, folks. All four tires get raised off the ground in milliseconds. Then crew members get to work on the tires. There’s a guy for each tire, so those are swapped out in no time. A separate worker fills the tank with fuel, and then Alex is back on the track like nothing happened.
Except it did. His tires have been changed in accordance with Alex’s feeling out on the track and the readings that his crew members see in the pit computers. It’s all calculated in painstaking detail. We’re talking down to a mere one-hundredth of a gallon of gas.
10:29 p.m. – A very busy day, indeed
Just saw a Scout wearing a BSA T-shirt. I asked him about his story, and I’m glad I did.
I didn’t catch his name, but the Scout told me he had just completed his Eagle Scout project this morning and was attending the race tonight to celebrate.
Oh, and I did I mention it’s his birthday?
He’s a big IndyCar fan, so cheering on the No. 19 car and Alex Lloyd was a great way to celebrate a big milestone in his path to Eagle and his 15th birthday!
10:38 p.m. – It’s all a blur
I’m back in the Media Center, and the race is on the TVs in here.
One thing became apparent right away: TV doesn’t do these races justice.
About 30 minutes ago, I was walking parallel to the cars and watched, heard, and felt them as they blew past me.
Now, seeing the race on TV, the effect of the cameras panning at the same rate as the cars makes the vehicles look slower.
Old news to anyone who’s been to one of these races, I’m sure. But a thrilling experience for me, an IndyCar newbie.
10:46 p.m. – The finish line
It’s all over, folks. Will Power wins the second race, and Alex Lloyd finishes 24th.
I hope you enjoyed this experiment in live-blogging. I sure did!