When does car culture equal IndyCar culture?
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Published on Mon, Sep 10, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Brian Kennedy When Does Car Culture Equal IndyCar Culture? Car culture, which is what we primarily report on here at LA Car, is a lot of things. It’s tracks and dragstrips, road tests and cruise-ins. In So Cal, it’s as varied as the landscape and as interesting as the myriad of people who make up the scene. It’s not fixed. One week it’s hanging out at the local donut shop. The next, it might be heading out to Route 66 for a burger and a gander at a bunch of hot rods gathered to show off. Once a year, it’s the Long Beach Grand Prix, a place where car culture mixes with beer culture and bikini culture (if the weather is good) to create a sometimes volatile yet always interesting mix. The weekend of September 14-15th, car culture in Southern California will be centered on the IndyCars for the second time this year. Only this time, it won’t be the twists and turns of a street circuit which test the drivers’ skills, but a two-mile, D-shaped oval. That, of course, would be the Autoclub Speedway in Fontana, and the best North American open-wheel series will bring its cadre of cars for their season-ending showdown starting with qualifying Friday and continuing with two races on Saturday.
So get the heck out there and watch. Buy your tickets through AAA, and you’ll get a discount. Buy them ahead of time, ditto (see autoclubspeedway.com for all the details). Show up ready, though, because 200 miles per hour is nothing like you’ve ever seen before. Think speed so fast that you can’t see who’s driving if you don’t follow a car around the oval with your eyes. If you just look across the track while a car passes your field of vision, you won’t have any idea who it is. These guys, and women, are going that fast. And when the racing starts, the Izod IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights cars, each in their respective races, are likely to be within inches of each other. IndyCar, especially, has justifiably earned its reputation as one of the most trecherous, insane, but absolutely amazing versions of motorsports around. These are not the lumbering giants of NASCAR, and they’re not the granny-driving engineering marvels of F1. These are mechanical bullets whose drivers, once they get strapped in, forget their mortality and fly wing-to-wing in pursuit of the checkered flag. Schedule-wise, this event is a two-day deal. Friday, both the IndyCars and the Indy Lights series will have qualifying, with tickets as cheap as 20 bucks. Saturday, it’s go-time, with both series racing on the big oval. The IndyCars will do so at speeds which could approach 215 mph. The Indy Lights go at 3pm, while the Izod IndyCar race happens as the evening falls, starting at 5:50. They’ll go 250 laps, so that should take them well into the darkness, to make things even more exciting.
There will also be bands playing through the afternoon Saturday as well as drifting exhibitions to keep fans entertained while they wait for the racing to start. With all that going on, it’s got to be better, in any event, than spending the day at the home improvement store trying to decide on what color to paint the spare bathroom. Watch LA Car this week for information about what’s at stake in the Izod IndyCar points championship, which will come down to how several drivers perform in this race. For information on tickets and schedules, go to autoclubspeedway.com. You’ll find lots of deals there, including packages which can get you into the party zones at the track. Whatever you do, however, don’t drink and drive home. Or anywhere else. Follow me on twitter @growinguphockey. I promise few tweets, but good ones. Read Brian Kennedy's The Dream Race: The IndyCar points chase in Fontana Read Brian Kennedy's Hunter-Reay, Power Play: IndyCar qualifying creates more puzzles For more information about Auto Club Speedway events, go to autoclubspeedway.com For more information about the 2012 Izod IndyCar schedule, click here