No weekend like Indy weekend!

Dario Franchitti catches a bit of air during qualifying for the 2010 Edmonton Indy. Photo by Dave S. Clark

By Dave S. Clark

For the past five or six years, I’ve been certain to circle one particular weekend in July on my calendar. That is, of course, Indy weekend.

I know not everyone feels the same excitement I do about the event — half of the north end has to put up with non-stop buzzing and growling of race cars for three days — but it’s always my favourite weekend in E-Town.

I’ve covered the race for the past few years and there’s definitely no way to beat experiencing the race up close, shooting photos just metres away from cars blazing by you at 200 km/h.

When you’re close enough that all you can inhale is ethanol fumes and your face gets covered with little bits of dirt and molten rubber kicked up from a race car’s sticky tires… there’s just nothing like it. The average person would probably feel nauseous and filthy, but for a racing fan like myself, it’s just perfect.

This year, I’m even more pumped about the Indy because there’s just so much else going on. One of the best bands I’ve seen play in a long time was the Los Straitjackets, who I caught when I was in Vegas this spring. And guess what? They’re playing three shows as part of Race Week Edmonton’s street festival. Also on stage is Lee Rocker of The Stray Cats, which is pretty awesome too. And the best part of it all is the street festival is free.

Now let’s not forget the best thing of the weekend — the racing! Edmonton is hosting a truly world class racing event, featuring some of the best drivers out there. It’s the 10th race of the season of a 17-race championship and with a new track layout and some rule changes this year, drivers are saying it’s going to be one of the most exciting races yet. They are predicting lots of passing and plenty of crashing too.

The Indy race, qualifying and practices only make up a portion of what happens out on the track. Once again the Driftmania Canadian Championship is back for a spectacle of tire smoke, burning rubber and battle damage.

Then there’s the Northern Alberta Sports Car Club’s Eurasia Cup GT Invitational, which has five classes of local amateur racers battling for the checkered flag. For the open-wheel racing fans, the Firestone Indy Lights always put on a great show too.

It always seems like the weather clears up and gives us a great weekend for racing, so hopefully that will continue this year too. See you at the races!

Looking for other events during Indy Week in Edmonton? Check out the Race Week Edmonton Festival!

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