Sunday, September 21, 2008

Moto GP Weekend at Indianapolis

When one of my best friends Barry Weiss asked if I wanted to go to the inaugural Moto GP race at the Indianapolis motor speedway, I jumped at the opportunity
For you that don’t know what Moto GP is it’s the formula one of motorcycle racing,
It’s the very best motorcycle racers in the world on bikes that will do an excess of two hundred miles an hour. This circuit mainly is in Europe but for the first time they are running in the United States and racing at Indy which hasn’t had a motorcycle race since 1909.
(Nicky Hayden in the typical race suit of the day riding on a 1909 Indian race motorcycle)
In Europe the riders are the equivalent of rock stars and there is none bigger than five time world champion Valentino Rossi,
(Valentino Rossi)
although the Euros dominate this division We do have a star in the form of “The Kentucky Kid” Nicky Haden, who was world champion a few years ago.
(Hayden with Rossi right behind him)

Well with all this in mind, and for me the opportunity to go to a place I’ve never been
I was excited to hit the road again on another adventure
Checking the weather report the advance warning was that the remnants of hurricane Ike would roll across Indiana the weekend of the race, so not letting a bit of stormy weather dampen our spirits Barry and I boarded our flight at LAX and headed off to Indy
I have to say that my friend Barry is one unique individual, a very well read and knowledgeable man on a variety of subjects, and a eclectic collector of art, cars, motorcycles and a variety of other lowbrow items
But for those of us that really know him, he is one of the funniest people you’ll ever meet and that humor can get pretty wacky.
I’ve had the pleasure to travel various parts of the world with Barry and it’s always been a great and interesting time
The first person we both recognized when we were seated in the plane was the great American AMA racer Eric Bostrom, who with his brother Ben are both motorcycle champions here in the States
Well we introduce ourselves and had a great time on the flight cracking jokes and talking about motorcycles, Eric turned out to be a real cool Kat and his company made a long flight day a lot shorter it seemed
When we landed in Pittsburgh we had to wait for our connector flight to Indy,
We soon found out that the incoming flight for us would be delayed a few hours so we invited Eric to dinner, Barry asked a fellow who worked at the airport what was the best restaurant to have dinner at, and the guy said that would be O’ Brian’s pub and grill, so we headed off to get a meal.
Of course as soon as Barry spied Victoria’s Secret we had to make a quick look around the store
The first thing Barry asked the sales girl was if they carried size 33 panties for me
You know just because we needed to spice up our sex life a little more,
I said to her I liked a leopard print and could really use some nice pointy spiked heels to go with them if they had those in my size too,
By now Eric had a pretty good idea what kind of nuts we were so he chimed in that yes the heels would look fabulous with the panties.
The sales girls were all having a good laugh on us as Barry said the thong he was holding just couldn’t contain my package……..anyway Eric was having a great time and so were we……and I think made up for the boring evening the sales girls were having
If anyone can tell me why airport food sucks I’d like to know,
I don’t know if it’s that every bad chef in a city just happened to land at the airport
But eating at most any airport many times ends up being nauseating
Such was the case at O’Brian’s ………… we ordered some appetizers,
(Perogi’s that looked liked some crap I once saw at a third rate Korea town restaurant)
And some chicken wings that were dripping in grease and hot sauce
Both were awful ………….so I ordered a cheeseburger figuring they couldn’t fuck that up but I’ll be go to hell Miss Agnes that cook was batting a thousand on his food preparation
Poor Eric opted for a bad breakfast plate and Barry had the same thing I did
Barry does a gag with the waitress at most places we eat at
after dinner when they ask how the meal was……….Barry reply’s that the food was fit for a king
And then bends over pats his leg and says “come here King” like he’s looking for his dog……. Ya ol king would have recognized this meal
When we finally arrived in Indianapolis the weather was quite humid, Barry picked up a rent a car with a full damage wavier (it’s needed because he’s hard on them)
(pic of our rent a car on the last day we were in Indy complete with the mud stained patina)
We got on the highway in search of our motel, one thing about Indy is that they have all these highways that circle the downtown area going north, south, east, west and it’s all quite confusing
And of course we promptly got lost, but the locals were quite willing to keep giving us the wrong directions and you wondered if they ever went more than a few blocks beyond their home
Well Barry about this time had himself a taste for a few sliders at White Castle
And this would end up being the second time that evening that we ate out of ol kings dog food bowl……….At White Castle they have these mini burgers, and Barry was intent to try everything on the menu, just to give it a taste
Well they have some sandwich with something called chicken rings, you open up the bun to see what’s inside and it looked like a little deep fried ass hole from the poor bird
I refused to eat it but Barry gave it a go and his poor stomach barked at him for the rest of the night for his evil deed
We finally made it to Motel Eight,
Barry decided to check out the parking lot down the street at Denny’s ……Eying this rather steep dip in the parking lot Barry asked me if I thought he could get “Air” in the rent a car…… I said sure why not (cringing inside)
Well if he didn't he sure got pretty close as we landed in a large rain puddle at the bottom
Around the corner was another big mud puddle from the recent rains and so for the next four day’s every time we left the motel Barry made a beeline for that muddy ditch, he said it gave the car more character, and I guess the dirty stains of mud on both sides of the car did give it a certain kind of look
We got up the late the next morning (neither one of us are early risers) and went to the speedway for the race qualifying,
the rain had passed and it was a beautiful day with a lot less humidity
The Speedway is immense; it’s well over two miles around,
(Nicky Hayden heading out for his qualifying)
You could put three hundred thousand people in there and still have room, we parked ourselves at a few different spots to watch the qualifying races, let me tell you there is nothing like motorcycle racers going as fast as they can trying to have the fastest lap to get in the front row for the start of the race the following day
The Qualifying was amazing and perfect weather for all the riders so they were racing as hard as they could, the day before it had rained so the lap times were way down
Barry and I went down to the long straight and watched the bikes go whizzing by at 200 miles an hour the qualifying goes for forty five minutes and it’s a lot of fun watching the race teams make their adjustment on the motorcycles and the riders competing for the fastest lap
Rossi ended up having the fastest lap and landed the pole position with Hayden in the second row
We ventured out to where all the venders were located in the middle of the track
Stopping by the large Yamaha tent to visit our new friend Eric who is a Yamaha factory rider
(the three amigos)
(saw this painted on one of the custom Yamaha's)

(an amazing shot on a large poster at the Ducati tent)
We then ventured back to the stands to watch the first race of the weekend



After the race was over we went back to the motel for a nap and get cleaned up for the nights festivities
It was shaping up to be a lovely evening and the street scene downtown was where it was at for those people that wanted to get in the party spirit
We had a great meal at a place called Palomino
It was the first good meal I had in a couple of days, place reminded me of LA and in fact they have a restaurant out here in Westwood. We had heard that the city center would be blocked off for cars and would have motorcycle parking only
And boy were there a lot of motorcycles,
the streets were full of people having a good time, some more drunker than others and I would have to say the local law enforcement were very cool about this, and so a good time was had by all
(War memorial in the middle of the town square)
The city of Indianapolis is really going through massive revitalization, the downtown section has the best of the old and the new, and they preserve their great heritage in architecture while incorporating the new with a vintage look and feel to it
The main employer in the city is the drug manufacture Lilly,
Now when Barry and I first drove into Indianapolis, I was enjoying the sights when I smelled what I thought was a fart from Barry
Now I’m sure Barry was thinking he smelled my fart, but a fart was what we both thought we smelled…….. I said to Barry, did you just fart?
And he said no did you? I said it wasn’t me and then Barry rolled down the window
Well we both said in perfect unison “fuck it smells like shit”
Come to find out the stink is Lilly baking drugs and depending on which way the wind blows that is where that stink is going to drift
Lilly gives a grant of 550 million dollars a year to the city of Indianapolis
So you can be sure, to the locals that rancid stink is just the sweet smell of money
But to the rest of us it still smells like shit

Sunday is race day,
There are three divisions that race, the 125’s, 250’s and finally the Grand Prix bikes
They start with the 125’s and their race was a pleasure to watch, I watched some great passes on the corners by the leaders and a dueling battle to the finish, a great race!

But as the day went on the looming rain clouds finally let loose with a vengeance
As long as there is no standing water on the track motorcycles will still race unlike a lot of race car divisions
Well so much rain came down from the thunderstorm they canceled racing and went into a holding pattern to see if the storm would move out
Well it sure looked like it would rain the rest of the day and we figured they would call off the rest of the racing card so Barry suggested we beat the crowd out of the raceway and head downtown….so that’s what we did
One thing I noticed while driving around downtown Indy were all these really cool old buildings…….some Gothic,

some Victorian and then we both saw one that was defiantly Moorish in design
Well this building turned out to be the Murat Shriner’s Temple
Seems that in Indy there are a lot of various Masonic fraternities and they all built these amazing buildings for their secret societies
The Free Masons are originally derived from the Knights Templar and then many years later other Masonic organizations were formed such as the Shriners or Scottish rites.
These secret societies splintered off from the Free Masons, each one with its own rules and initiation rites, but still a basic Masonic Fraternal Society
Well the Shriners were the party animals of these fraternal societies and Barry has quite a collection of Shriner memorabilia and great personal knowledge of their history
So we stopped at the Murat Temple and I took some photos,
We were looking to see if there was any way to get inside when we ran across some people smoking on the side of the building,
As they were eying us with suspicion, the fellow who seemed to be in charge asked
"and your looking for?
Barry then asked if it was possible to view the inside of the building
They said sure just go around he corner and you’ll find a door
Well we walked around the corner and the place was locked up tight as a drum
Barry said, I bet those folks back there are Shriners and they are have a little fun making us walk around a locked up building
So Barry came up with a good BS plan to lay on them when we came back around the corner
Yep It was classic Barry saying his poor old dad before he died (god rest his soul)
Was a Shriner in LA at the Al Malaikah Temple and he told his son if he was ever in Indy to pay his respects at the amazing Murat temple
Well it was about this time that the fellow who told us to go around the corner says he’s the Potentate (that’s basically the head man in the shriner society)
Next thing you know we’re all friends and were getting invited to their clubhouse and bar
So we proceed to have lunch and some very good Bloody Mary’s while they all watched the Colts football game……. It was cool and everyone was really nice
So we’re having a grand ole time at the Shriner bar when Barry gets a phone call from one of his friends at the track, he says the weather cleared up a bit and they cleaned the standing water off the track (they use jet engines) and they were canceling the 250 race and just running the Grand Prix so we better get our asses back to the track
Well we made a quick exit promising to be right back after the race and hurried out to the track just in time to see the start of the race
Nicky Hayden went right to the lead and held it for most of the race but as the track dried out his rain tires lost rubber and traction with Rossi in hot pursuit
Rossi passed Hayden and went right to the lead, well about this time the rain started to fall again pretty steady and if that wasn’t bad enough now there were wind gusts 40 to 60 miles an hour whipping around

Shit was blowing all over the place and the track conditions were getting really dangerous so the red flag came out and they called the race on lap 21 (anything over 17 can be official) So Rossi won with Hayden in second a great finish for both riders
Well the long walk back to the car in a 60 mile an hour wind was kinda interesting
Hell one time I thought Barry was gonna lift right off the ground with his plastic poncho flapping around catching the swirling wind, but we made it back to the car and headed right back to the comforts of the Murat lodge and some more of those Bloody Mary’s
The Shriner's were all happy their team won at the last few seconds of the ball game so
It seemed like they were all getting ready to go home, that meant some goodbye’s to our new friends and time for us to hit the road again
We drove around downtown a bit, stopped at the home of our 23’rd president
Benjamin Harrison
Moving on we ended up in Speedway,

Speedway is the poor section of town close by the racetrack
Primarily a black neighborhood,
The car needed some gas so we stopped to fill up
Now usually when in a black neighborhood we like to find a good BBQ joint
So Barry asked some guys who were hanging out where a guy could find a good “Q”
Well the guys said the best place was just down the street called BBQ Heaven
So we went a few blocks down the street and found our joint
The place seemed to have quite a steady clientele (normally a good sign) so Barry and I waited in line to place our order.
Like I said before Barry likes to order various things off the menu just to get a taste of what a place will serve,
Well we got our assortment of food and proceeded to try it out
I’ve eaten at a lot of BBQ joints all over the country,
But bar none this place was the worst, a bite or two and we threw the shit in the trash
I ordered a peach cobbler, thinking no one could fuck that up but I was really mistaken
Washing what little I ate with a grape soda it was time for my tummy to have some fits of it’s own
I didn’t know to wither to shove a finger down my throat Roman style and yak it up or try and ride it out
(I opted for the later) I guess you eat what your used to and in that neighborhood
The locals must have poor taste and cast iron stomachs!
Barry said fuck it, let's go back downtown and get a pizza at the palomino
I couldn’t have agreed more
On Monday we decided to go to a few museums, first on the list was the Eiteljorg Museum,
Barry knows the owner and we were invited to meet him for lunch and a tour of the museum.
The Eiteljorg Museum has one of the best collections of American western art in the United States, here you can find many paintings and sculptures by Frederick Remington or C.M. Russell and so many more, the collection of Indian art and artifacts at the Eiteljorg is also very impressive.
I would strongly recommend a visit there if you ever find yourself in Indianapolis
(my favorite piece, all done with a pencil)
The next place we had on our short list of things to see was the Indianapolis motor speedway hall of fame and museum
The museum is located right on the racetrack and it’s a must see if you are at all interested in motorcar racing, It has a great collection of racing cars and motorcycles from the last 100 years and something else I found interesting was an amazing collection of trophies they had

(loved this art deco trophy from the 1930's)

(the Borg Warner trophy presented to the Winner of the Indy 500)
We were done with our tour of the museum and trying to find our way out,
When Barry spied an open gate to the race track. So we headed that direction
Barry’s never one to miss a genuine opportunity and said to me, here’s our story
We’re meeting a guy from Red Bull (they were the race sponsors) so as we passed a few of the security guys we waved and they just let us continue on our way which happen to be the main track
Barry looked around and said to me, you think they’ll mind if we drive on the track?
I said hell I don’t exactly see “they” so go for it!
Well needless to say your daring duo did a crisp and steady 35 miles an hour on the road course that the day before hosted the F1 Moto GP bikes,

we waved at some of the track workers and just acted like it was perfectly natural thing for two dudes in a rent a car to be tooling around the Indy 500 race track
We ended up at the finish line and I took a couple of quick photos
Hoping back in the car we took the same route we came and off the race course
Many great champions have raced on this storied race track,
Well my friends you can now add the names of Barry Weiss and Mark Peacock!
Just two guys from LA trying to squeeze just a little more out of their used general admission tickets from the day before
No we didn’t get to kiss the bricks like those other great racers, have our name etched on the Borg Warner trophy
No…..what you could really say is that we crept in…..crapped…..and crept out
And damn if we didn’t feel as right as rain afterward

I guess the urge to sneak in somewhere was really strong that afternoon
Because the next place on our list was the Scottish Rites Cathedral
We parked the car and tried to find an open door
Watching some parents with their kids enter the building going to some kind of class
We just sauntered in right behind them, when they made a right we made a quick left
And entered the old part of the cathedral
We walked around checking out the various rooms which were beautifully ornate
The carved wood panels and beams with stained glass everywhere was simply amazing
My photos don’t do this magnificent building justice, not wanting to use a flash and get busted for being somewhere we weren’t supposed to be.

We entered a large theater and noticed a large Ducati banner and then in another room we spied some of the new 2009 Ducati motorcycles
Realizing now that Ducati was having their big once a year factory dealer party inside the cathedral
I took a few pic’s of the bikes and we decided to try and find our way back out of the place which wasn’t easy because it’s rather like a large castle with many rooms
Well we made it out and lo and behold right across the street was a Masonic Lodge
Hehehe you know we had to talk our way into that place too, and sure enough we got by the guard and got to view the inside of the lodge.
We then drove over to the city square and checked out the new mall, had a tasty snack at Chick-Fil-Lay, (it’s a great place if you can find one)
I took a few more photos of things I found interesting and we headed back to the motel for our last evening in Indy
I woke up before Barry the next morning; I had seen a stone garden that I thought I’d like to visit because I’m fascinated by that sort of thing
The weather was beautiful and I found a few monuments and gravestones to photograph
It was finally time to make the trek back home to LA so we headed to the airport
Wouldn’t you know Barry had the stewardesses in stitches the whole flight,
You know there is nothing like a little laughter to make the hours fly right by

I like to think of it as the glitter one finds on the highway of life
So here’s to the things that we see along the way that makes it all sparkle!



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