A Bronze is NOT a Third Place Finish–

10 Feb
It may be bronze, but it really IS gold

It may be bronze, but it really IS gold

Over the past 25 years I have probably purchased 2 thousand dollars’ worth of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Bronze badges. Far and away, it is the one expense I have never had an issue with. There are many different facets of this simple badge that magnify the true value of purchasing it. This is very evident from an open wheel race fan’s perspective! The incomparable Cassie Conklin of IMS Blogging fame beat me to the punch the other day when she posted her 5 reasons why you should buy a bronze badge. Her excellent post can be found

HERE

Experience has shown me that there is no better value in sport at this price point. I can add up all the days in May that the track is open and while utilizing a bronze badge, I still come out ahead in the [not] empty wallet department. I would gladly miss a week of work to take full advantage of the wayyyy upclose access, but my employer just might have an objection or two.

While the IMS blog speaks of the benefits in five totally spot on bullet points, I feel that the most subtle advantage of this badge is the confluence of access and photo op. In fact, the BEST vantage point on qualifying weekend would be just to the north of the fuel depot, in between the two tech inspection pads.

 

Tech Corner at IMS; visible from space!

Tech Corner at IMS; visible from space!

Last year I enjoyed the loosening of the bicycle rules at the speedway (Indianapolis currently has a VERY bicycle friendly mayor) and was allowed to enter and bike to my heart’s content. My bike, parked beside some of the two wheeled toys the mechanics drive into work during May, just inside the gate by the fuel depot:

 

Recognize the 10 car?

Recognize the 10 car?

 

Taking advantage of bicycle mobility, along with being armed with a bronze badge I found the perfect spot to shoot the DW12 cars in close proximity. By close, I mean so close that the BIG red and black and yellow colored car team’s vehicle handlers blocked some of my shots during tech inspection.

 

Are they hiding, uh, protecting proprietary information?

Are they hiding, uh, protecting proprietary information?

 

One can easily get that close. I wonder if they were frightened that I might be a roaming eye for a competitor. From the vantage point below, where cars undergo tech, I found some of the best places to get within a whisper of the cars. I enjoy shooting them in a front on or rear on views and this is the best spot to do so. It gives some shots a close look at the detail of the preparation of the cars.

 

Black and Red cars

Black and Red cars

 

 

Laying on of the hands

Laying on of the hands

 

So, if you are fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of the offer of access, the Bronze Badge program is my best suggestion. It really is a lot of bang for the buck. But the best part of this program is that finally, after dern near 96 years, the speedway began to allow minors into the garage area. It is the easiest way for the speedway to foster the next generation of open wheel fan. The sport certainly can use any and all avenues of exposure available as they go down the road that leads to the future. This is a great incubation opportunity. Oh, and by the way, last year just prior to the start of the Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the bronze badge provided the opportunity of a pre-race grid walk. No extra charge…..

Recently, when I asked a fresh set of eyes to look over the rough draft of this Bronze Badge edition of Wide Open Wheel, the following statement was made; “GForce, you sound like you are being a shill for the Speedway”. I pondered that a moment and asked in return, “If I give you an aspirin for your headache, am I practicing unlicensed health care?” The answer is no, I am not. I am just sharing a really great way to experience open wheel racing up close at a very reasonable cost. It just happens to be in Indianapolis!

 

As always, thanks for stopping by and we will talk with you next time.

 

 

Road Course

Road Course

GForcePaul

 

 

This Week’s HOT LINK:

http://www.motorsport.com/indycar/news/conor-daly-is-next-in-line-for-indycar

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