Try “Glamping Out” for the Indianapolis 500

Glamping out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Glamping out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Love the idea of camping? But hate the idea of hauling stuff, setting it up, and worst of all — pitching a tent? Or, maybe you don’t even own any of that stuff.

Well, then glamping may be for you!

If a tent and a hotel room had a baby, it would be glamping. And I’m pretty sure it never existed before Pinterest. But, what a concept! Sleeping in the great outdoors with all the indoor comforts.

And what better time to try it, then during the greatest sporting event in the world? This year, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has added glamping as an option for fans who want to be part of the Indianapolis 500 action and never leave the track.

The media got a sneak preview of the setup on Tuesday night, which features large tents you can stand up and walk around in, with real beds, pillows and bedding, side tables, windows, battery powered lights, and an outdoor lounge area with fireplace and movie screen. Private restrooms and showering areas are also available, as are cell phone charging stations. Yep, they pretty much thought of everything, including locks for the tents.

Twin bed

Twin bed

Four day glamping packages run from $650-1100 for the weekend and include tickets to Carb Day, Legends Day, and Race Day for each person. May 16 is the deadline to reserve your spot for race weekend May 22-26. You can find information on glamping and make reservations on the IMS website.

It was a little chilly for the staging. In fact, I didn’t stay for the screening of Turbo because, to be honest, I couldn’t feel my feet (which shouldn’t be a problem in May). It actually made me long for those hot and steamy days. I’d say I won’t complain about them, but that would be a lie.

View of the Pagoda at sunset

View of the Pagoda at sunset

A brand new way to experience “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

The month of May just got even better.

Now, if it would just get here…

Ladies and Gentlemen…Time for your Victory Lap!

Catch a ride in an IndyCar

Catch a ride in an IndyCar with the Indy Racing Experience.

Spring has arrived in Indianapolis. And it won’t be long before the hum of the engines and the smell of the rubber fills the air.

Our favorite drivers have not yet arrived at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but fans who can’t wait any longer…no longer have to wait.

As of April 7th, IMS is offering victory laps through the Indy Racing Experience every day, year round (weather permitting), during Hall of Fame Museum hours (9-5). No appointment is necessary, just show up at the trailer in the museum parking lot.

The IndyCar Experience is available daily at IMS and during other IndyCar races.

The Indy Racing Experience is available daily at IMS and during other IndyCar races.

For $60, riders nine years and older can take a victory lap ride at 60 mph around the famous oval in a real two-seat IndyCar, NASCAR, or event car. It’s another way for fans to engage their passion for racing.

The full experience (including full speeds of up to 180 mph) is also available for  $499. And for $1,000, you can drive an IndyCar yourself (after some training). Those options do require an appointment.

John Paul Hyden, manager of the Indy Racing Experience says the victory lap is a new addition. And for a simple reason.

“There’s two types of people. People that really want to go fast. And people that don’t really want to go fast.”

You can browse all your options at: indyracingexperience.com.

After doing a victory lap myself, there are a couple of things I can tell you. First, you can’t be claustrophobic, because you’re strapped in pretty tight. You also can’t be too tall (under 6’5” and 250 lbs.), as the IndyCar doesn’t sell itself on leg room. And you can’t be afraid to sign a waiver asking for your blood type. (Yikes — and I have no idea!?)

Thankfully, my driver Jimmy executed a flawless run. And to be honest, signing the waiver was the only thing that felt dangerous.

I can tell you what it feels like to put on the helmet, be strapped in the car, see the stands, round the turns, pass the pole, and feel the bricks…but it won’t do it justice. You really have to experience it for yourself. And that’s what the Indy Racing Experience is all about.

But, I will tell you this — I know I’ll never watch a race the same way again.

All I need now is a sponsor.

All I need now is a sponsor. And some lessons.

And I also don’t need to see the track at 180 mph.

At least, I don’t think so.

I don’t know.

Let me think about it…

Pacers Have Lost that Loving Feeling

Photo: Indy Star/Joe Vitti

Photo: Indy Star/Joe Vitti

Team chemistry is a lot like chemistry in any other relationship. If you’re thinking about it — it’s already an issue. If you’re talking about it — it’s a problem. And if you keep coming back to it — you’re in trouble.

By that definition, the Indiana Pacers are in T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

They started out the season about as strong as they could have. Then, just before the trade deadline, Pacers President Larry Bird added some new faces: Andrew Bynum, Evan Turner, and Lavoy Allen. And it was goodbye to longtime veteran Danny Granger and locker room favorite Orlando Johnson.

Throw in some (alleged) baby mama drama, a halftime haircut, some questionable online photos, and the team that dominated the first half of the season — is now sliding into the playoffs, or more accurately — free-falling after losing 10 of their last 16 games.

I wasn’t excited about the Pacers roster changes. Not because I was a big Danny Granger fan (truthfully, I am not). But because I wanted to see this team bring home the NBA Championship with their core group. The one from the last few seasons. The one that stood for teamwork, brotherhood, and was built — not bought. And quite frankly, they weren’t broken.

Now, with the frustration, comes the finger-pointing and blame game — something we haven’t seen from this group. It’s not entirely clear who has a problem with who. But one thing is clear: the Pacers have lost that loving feeling.

Yes, it’s gone…gone…gone…

And now, so is their first place seed and home court advantage in the playoffs.

This is the hand the Pacers were dealt. And Larry Bird expects them to play it. Period.

Whether it’s on the court, off the court, or in therapy — the players need to figure it out. They’re the only ones who can do it.

They have everything to gain if they do. And everything to lose if they don’t.

So, bring back that loving feeling…

And fast.

Go Pacers!

 

Letter to Paul George from Pacers Fans

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Dear Paul George,

So, you screwed up. Allegedly. But even if you did, all you did was take the bait. In the form of a Kardashian lookalike. A lot of guys would have. A lot of guys have. Including one you played against the other night. And he’s old enough to know better.

Then, you screwed up again. Allegedly. Personally, I thought the duck face was kind of cute. No matter who was on the receiving end of it. I’m sure he (or she) enjoyed it as much as the rest of us.

It happens. You’re young, good-looking, talented, and filthy rich. And now you know what happens when you’re young, good-looking, talented, and filthy rich.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, we forgive you. And we still love you. Now, you just need to forgive yourself, put it behind you, and move on.

No matter what happens in your personal life, you can deal with it. After the playoffs. You’ll have plenty of time and plenty of money, and plenty of people to help you figure it out.

So, we’re ready to move on if you are. Deal?

And just one more thing. In the meantime (and for the foreseeable future), before every decision you make — we just ask that you think one thing:

“What would David West do?”

We’re on the home stretch now. So, look ahead. Keep your head high, your hands on the wheel, your foot on the gas, and remember…WWDWD.

We’ll be cheering for you.

Go Pacers!

Love,

Pacers Fans

NBA One and Done Rule is March Madness

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Sorry, but I’m not going to get all bent out of shape about Bobby Knight’s comments regarding the NBA one and done rule. Coach Knight is many things. Eloquent isn’t one of them. But in this case, he is right.

On Tuesday morning, during an interview on ESPN’s Mike and Mike, the former Indiana University basketball coach stated that the current NBA one and done rule has “raped college basketball.” Would “robbed” have been a better choice of words? Absolutely.

But Coach Knight makes a good point. The current system allows college players eligibility for the NBA draft after completing just one year of college basketball. That’s one year after graduating high school.

Do you remember where your head was at 19 years old? Now, imagine someone throwing millions of dollars at you, taking you far from your loved ones, putting you on private planes, and putting you up in fancy hotels with professional athletes (and all that comes with them) several nights a week.

And that’s exactly what we’re getting in the NBA.

Moreover, the point Coach Knight makes is that from a college standpoint, it makes it nearly impossible to run a team. Sign a star player, build around them, and you’ve got — one season to make it happen? How do you do that? How does anyone do that? And what are you teaching these players about teamwork and consistency and relationships?

Is it any wonder these athletes get to the NBA and act like spoiled brats? And demand trades when it doesn’t work out after one season? Because that’s what we’ve taught them. And that’s what their highly compensated agents (with a vested interest) are telling them. “It’s all about you. Forget the team. Do what’s right for you.”

And then we criticize the players when they continue that mindset as an adult. But, that’s the first problem. They may be professionals. But they’re not adults. They’re kids. And uneducated kids at that.

Coach Knight is right. The NBA is robbing these kids of an important time in their lives. Those years spent in college are not just spent in the classroom. They’re also spent building relationships, resolving conflicts, and figuring out who they are and who they want to be, as well as what they want to do. They’re spent growing up. And we’re not allowing these kids time to grow up.

And I’m sorry, but taking some courses during the summer and at the end of their career does not make up for it. The whole idea of a college education is to have something to fall back on when your inevitably short career as a pro athlete comes to an end. Again, is it any wonder these players have such a hard time adjusting to life once their professional playing days are over?

The college programs are paying the price. The NBA is paying the price. But, it’s the kids who pay the real price. And for the rest of their lives.

Don’t blame the athletes. They’re put in an impossible situation. Blame the system. Blame the NBA.

The one and done rule is the real definition of March Madness.