~ by Chris #16 Demaras ~
With winter arriving, and the end of the year approaching, I’ve been looking back at 2019. The highlight of the summer for the Demaras family was definitely our trip to the IndyCar race at Pocono.
We went to the Grand Prix of Canada in Montreal a few years ago, and of course the Honda Indy Toronto every year. But a superspeedway is a completely different experience. The place if huge, with a capacity of over 75,000.
Then there’s the infield camping. You’re right in the middle of the action, and positively surrounded by the sounds of speed. We had our camper parked across the road from sometimes IndyCar driver Connor Daly.
But the weirdest part was the ‘behind the scenes’ feel of the whole event, as racers just walked around with their kids. Or in the case of Simon Pagenaud, his dog. Daniel was keeping his little sister Michelle company at the playground on Friday evening when a dad and his kid arrived.
“Oh, you’re wearing my hat.” said the dad while pushing his son on the swings. Sure enough, it was Indy 500 winner Will Power standing next to Daniel!
The event was really family friendly, kind of like an IMSA race where you can pretty much walk wherever you want, and nothing is off limits. But at Pocono, once the on track activity ended, you could even walk on the track and through pit lane if you felt like it.
We had fantastic seats, up in the Terrace Club, which was at the top of the grandstand. We had shelter overhead from the blazing sun, free food and drinks, plus a clear view of the entire 2.5 mile track. Growing up around road courses and street circuits, I’ve gotten used to watching a race from only one corner, within view of the big TVs, so you could follow the race outcome. But at the big oval, you never lost track of the action.
Oval track racing isn’t for everyone. Some drivers refuse to race them, like Max Chilton and Mike Conway before him. It’s a dangerous business. But as a race fan, I was astounded! I’ve never seen a car travel 360 km/h before. The sound was ferocious when I ventured down to the fence for a few laps of practice.
While the ABC 500 was cut short this year due to nasty weather, but our favourite driver Will Power took home the win. It couldn’t have been better!