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Lapping It Up At Indy
Rick Reilly
May 28, 2007
HERE ARE the five things that were going through my mind as I was being strapped into the coffin-shaped cockpit of an Indy car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
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May 28, 2007

Lapping It Up At Indy

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HERE ARE the five things that were going through my mind as I was being strapped into the coffin-shaped cockpit of an Indy car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

1. This is where I die.

2. There is a working hospital on the grounds; how can that be good?

3. Thirty-seven drivers have died at this track since it opened in 1909, including 23 while qualifying or practicing, which is basically what I'm about to do now!

4. A.J. Foyt's last words of advice to me at breakfast, which were, "Don't screw it up, buddy, or I'll piss on your grave!"

5. Not all column ideas are good ideas.

And that's when they hollered, "O.K.! Start it!"

I blame Matchbox. You know, the miniature toy cars? The Indy racer was my favorite. So when I heard that the Brickyard was finally allowing people to drive a real Indy car ($399 for four laps at IndyRacingExperience.com), I climbed on. I mean, how scary could it be?

Damn scary, especially if you're dumb enough to read about Indy racing beforehand. You don't want to know that an Indy car goes from 0 to 100 mph in less than three seconds, which is quicker than a Learjet off the line; or that if you hit the track's wall hard enough, the car will break into 300 pieces, like another childhood toy: Legos. Mommy!

By the time I was in the fireproof shoes, suit, headsock, gloves and helmet, I'm sure I was turning whiter than Edgar Winter at a s´┐Żance. Indy Racing Experience's Scott Jasek tried to buck me up. "Imagine!" he yelled. "Can you play Augusta the week of the Masters? No! Can you ride a horse at Churchill Downs the week of the Derby? No! But you get to drive Indy the week of qualifying!"

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