The Callahan Report: Indy 500 is Ready with New Fans
30 May 1999By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
INDIANAPOLIS (8:00 a.m.): Crowds began streaming into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grounds as the gates opened at 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning. By 7:00 a.m. the traffic surrounding the Speedway was backed up all the way to interstate 465 in all directions. The people traffic was nearly as bad entering the pedestrian gates on Georgetown road.
The weather forecast calls for near perfect racing conditions. The temperature at race time is expected to be 78 degrees with slightly overcast skies. The 1999 Indy 500 will start on time. The ceremonies leading up to the 83rd running of the Indy 500 will go like clockwork.
Included in the stands this year will be two special guests. The Auto Channel, in conjunction with CBS Sportsline, held an online contest last year. The lucky winner received a trip the 1999 Indy 500.
Kathleen and Jennifer Kirk, of Rockville Maryland, arrived in Indianapolis Friday night. After a short nights sleep, it was off to the track for the annual AARWBA breakfast. Speakers at the event this year included Arie Luyendyk, Steve Knapp, and Jerett Schroeder. Al Unser Sr. was also honored with a cake on his 60th birthday.
Kathleen Kirk was checking the golf scores for her boss one morning when she saw the contest advertised on CBS Sportsline. She entered and to her pleasant surprise, she was notified that she was the winner of the trip.
Kathleen decided to bring her younger sister to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing shortly after she received the notification. The two ladies from the Washington DC area have had similar luck before. Kathleen also won a trip to Jamaica recently via an Internet contest.
After the breakfast, Kathleen and Jennifer headed off to the drivers meeting where they saw all the drivers for the race. Then the ladies to the famous Gasoline Alley at Indy. They toured the garage area shooting pictures and chatted with IRL crew members. Kathleen and Jennifer planned on arriving at the track early Sunday morning to see there first Indy 500. They will be cheering for Tony Stewart, their fathers favorite driver on the NASCAR circuit.