All the Indy Fun Isn't At The Brickyard

While Jenn plans to spend the weekend hanging out at The Brickyard, I will be enjoying the race from the comfort of my couch. Part of me is sad that I'm not heading to Indy but not for the reason you might think. I'm sad cause I won't get a chance to head over to O'Reilly Raceway Park for the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series Races.

For those of you who don't know the Sprint Cup race will be held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon, but the drivers from the other two series will be spending their weekend a few miles away at the .686 mile track known as O'Reilly Raceway Park.

Kyle Busch follows closely behind the pace car during the Nationwide Series Race at ORP - July 2008 (credit: TheBiffFiles)

Last year Jenn and I had no plans to attend the Nationwide Race while in Indy but at the last minute we hopped in the car and headed over to the track hoping that there were still tickets available. We made it just in time to hear the command to start engines and from the first lap I was on the edge of my seat.

Why? The track is perfect! It's nearly flat the whole way around with only a few degrees of banking in the turns, you can see everything that happens on the track regardless of where you are sitting, and there's enough room to move around in your seat without feeling like you are sitting on your neighbor's lap. Sure there are a few things about the track that aren't perfect like the fact that most of the parking is in a large field that's full of holes, the seats are regular bleachers and not those comfy fold down chairs you find at some tracks, and that you have to pay for your tickets at the gate with cash. I can overlook all of that, especially if the racing is good.

Something else about ORP is that it's not like most tracks where the car haulers are stationed in the infield. At ORP fans have to walk right past the haulers in order to get to the entrance gate. Before the race you might get lucky and see a driver or a team owner and after the race you can get close enough to the cars to actually touch them. You might even see a driver then.

Jenn and I weren't expecting this and were pleasantly surprised to be able to get that close to the haulers. While heading to the gate to get our tickets we saw a large group of people huddled around the Steven Wallace hauler talking to someone. Turns out my childhood racing idol Rusty Wallace was talking to fans and signing autographs behind the hauler....now this is where the story gets funny...

Jenn prepares to touch Rusty Wallace - July 2008 - O'Reilly Raceway Park Indianapolis, IN (credit: TheBiffFiles)

I have this affliction...I see a NASCAR driver in person and I forget how to speak sometimes. I'm getting better but when I saw Rusty I not only forgot how to speak but I forgot how to walk. Jenn on the other hand goes running up to him and then realizes she has nothing for him to sign so what does she do? She touches him on the back and sort of makes a petting gesture. To this day she remind me that she "petted Rusty Wallace."

If you are going to be in Indy this weekend why not head over to ORP for the truck series race or the Nationwide race. Both are fairly short races and they are definitely worth checking out.

O'Reilly Raceway Park is located at 10267 East US Highway 136 Indianapolis. The Camping World Truck Series will be in action on Friday July 24th at 7:30 PM and the Nationwide Series will hit the track at 7:30 PM on Saturday.

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