Indianapolis Motor Speedway Closes Out 2014 Season with MotoGP

The RedBull Indy Moto GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The RedBull Indy MotoGP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Summer is winding down. The days are getting shorter, the kids are going back to school, and football is making its long-awaited return. Before we know it, there will be a chill in the air and leaves on the ground.

But before bidding summer farewell, there was a little more racing to do at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And it did not disappoint.

I never thought I would watch a sport that made IndyCar racing look safe. But that’s exactly what I thought when I saw my first MotoGP race at IMS on Sunday.

IndyCar drivers fly around the track at speeds over 200 miles per hour, but at least they have seatbelts on. And a steel frame around them.

MotoGP riders go almost as fast, while straddling a machine. They lean into the corners, practically rubbing their knees and elbows against the asphalt. And sometimes, they even pass that way (which is when I close my eyes).

Watching them maneuver is breathtaking, and may force you to hold your breath…as I did every time they took the sharp turn in front of me.

We lost two riders on the very first lap. I didn’t even realize I caught it on camera until I got home and checked my pictures. Thankfully, no one was injured.

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Walking into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the MotoGP felt almost like stepping foot in a different country. The crowd was different, more international. And I have to say, I love what they did with the garage. There was upscale dining complete with tablecloths, umbrellas, and potted plants. A few outdoor lounges were added with comfortable seating and fashionable decor. It looked less “man cave” and more “sidewalk café.” Leave it to the Europeans to bring charm to the concrete jungle.

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The MotoGP also felt like more of a family event. There were activities for kids and I even spotted some toddlers in the stands. The 27-lap race lasted about 45 minutes, making it a little more child-friendly.

Kids test their skills on mini moto bikes at IMS on Sunday

Kids test their skills on mini moto bikes at IMS on Sunday

All in all, the MotoGP is a great way to enjoy a different, more worldly event at the racing capital of the world, but with all the excitement you’d expect. And without the 500 crowds.

The MotoGP closed out a great season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I spent more time at the track in 2014 than I have in all of my prior Indy years combined. And every visit brought me something new, exciting, and memorable. Thanks to the great people at IMS and IndyCar for the countless opportunities to experience first hand, the thrill of racing in the most storied setting in sports.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has long been a significant part of Indianapolis. And now, it’s a significant part of me.

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