Last year I found out that my friend Heather had “attend the Indy 500″ on her 40 x 40 list. I remember looking at her and saying “I’ll get you there, I know people.” I have a feeling she dismissed my claim in her head thinking “Yeah, of course you’ll get me to the Indy 500.”

Oh I got her there alright.

Let me back up.

Early last week I got an email asking me if I’d like to get a group of friends together and take them to meet Mario Andretti at a local Macy’s on Friday night, they said they’d compensate me for my time in organizing everyone and give me money to take them out to dinner afterwards. I was just excited to be able to hang out with my friends, I never imagined it would end up as one of the craziest and coolest experiences of my life.

Eleven of us ended up meeting at Macy’s and as we waited in line to meet Mario, a dance off for four suite tickets to the Indy 500 on Sunday was announced.

This is where the fact that I have very little shame and a whole lot of experience with Dance Central comes in handy. I turned to Heather and said “When I win, you’re going with me.”

Not if, when.

Y’all, I danced like I have never danced in my life. I’m not even sure one could call what I was doing dancing, it was more like organized flailing using every body part I owned. I could barely breathe, as I saw the judges tapping out people one by one I knew I had to keep going, it was getting too close to the end.

I couldn’t see anyone or anything else around me, I was in the dance off zone. I thought I heard the word “WINNER!” but wasn’t about to risk slowing down and being tapped out, that’s when I looked at my friends and they were all shouting “YOU WON!”

Then this happened:

They handed me my four suite passes and said “PUT THEM IN YOUR PURSE, ZIP IT UP AND RUN.”

Y’all, I couldn’t breathe properly for about an hour.

Two minutes later I was up on a little stage with Mario Andretti and 10 of my most treasured people from the Internet, tickets in hand.

I wheezed a “Hello” and a “Thank you for meeting with us” to Mr. Andretti before I crawled off the stage to collapse again. I texted Cody “I just won four suite passes to the Indy 500″ to which he responded “Of course you did.

I took my friends out to dinner and felt really important when I did that fancy “Check please” wave to our server. When he asked “Will these all be separate?” I said “Nope, just on one please.” Took all I had not to throw a bunch of dollar bills in the air. We had a fantastic night, but the fun wasn’t over yet.

Early Sunday morning we set out with Heather and Cody’s friend Steve to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We parked at least two miles away but once we made it to those top bleachers and “Drivers to your cars!” was announced? I forgot all about the sweltering heat and ridiculous walk. The sound of an Indy Car is one of the greatest sounds in existence and it only gets better when they drop that green flag for the first time and they take off on their 200 lap race to the finish.

Our suite tickets allowed us access to the IZOD suite that was almost too chilly compared to the hottest race day ever out on the track. Putting our first world problems aside we drank water, watched the leader board change with almost every lap and filled up on tacos and peanut butter cups. I can see why people do this every year. I can even see why people sit out on metal bleachers for 3 hours to watch cars go around a track 200 times in direct sun (although my alabaster skin was wildly grateful for the shade and air conditioning.)

It took all I had not to pester the other people in the suite about how they had gotten their tickets. I’ll bet none of them danced to get in, that’s for sure.

It was a completely different experience than when I went in 2010, aside from Dario Franchitti winning again and the endless goosebumps I would get every time the cars drove past. I don’t think it matters how you experience the race, it just matters that you do. And you should. It’s indescribable and amazing.

Just like I said two years ago, “Go once, you’ll get it.

***************

Thanks to IZOD for letting me dance my brains out to win seats in their suite, thanks to Mario Andretti and Macy’s for letting me sweat all over both of them and a special thanks to Be Everywhere PR for allowing me this opportunity that turned into an absolute experience.

Comments

  1. “Go once and you’ll get it” is so so true. My parents used to get tickets every year. I went a few times and there were so many traditions built around that race. I haven’t been in more than 10 years but hope to get back there someday!

    Casey Reply:

    @Jackie, TEN YEARS!? Get ye back to the speedway woman!

  2. I love you! Seriously! You danced for tickets and won! You are my hero! Wow! You amaze me!

    Casey Reply:

    @Bea_OT, There isn’t much I wouldn’t dance for.

  3. Of course you did.

    Casey Reply:

    @Daniel, OF COURSE I DID!

  4. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

    I was born and raised in Indiana but have NEVER been to the 500…although I lived near a little race track…Winchester Speedway. :)

    Congratulations! Looks like you had a ball. And…your striped dress is cute, cute.

    Casey Reply:

    @Chrisy, NEVER!? Oh, people. Same weekend every year for 96 years!

  5. How fantastic! I couldn’t care less about race cars but seriously? What a Story! I’m so happy for you!

    Casey Reply:

    @Angela, Thank you! And someday you’ll care about race cars. SOME DAY.

  6. This is such a great story! And I love Cody’s reaction. Looks like a great way to spend a hot Sunday. Indoors!

    Casey Reply:

    @lauryn, Yeah, doesn’t he look super stoked? He really was, he’s just not an emoter.

  7. I’ve been in Indy 10 years yesterday, and basically have been either pregnant or nursing a wee one every single Spring.

    Maybe next year will be my year…

    Casey Reply:

    @designhermomma, Yeah, you should quit making babies so often.

  8. Sunshine says:

    So fun!!

    Casey Reply:

    @Sunshine, It was! The only kind of 90 degree fun that is acceptable!

  9. Wow! I need to get in your group of friends!

    Casey Reply:

    @Heather Tallman at basilmomma), You do! Next time you’re in!

  10. Wow. Wow. Wow. That is awesome. You are awesome.!

    Steph

    Casey Reply:

    @Stephanie Precourt, No, YOU’RE awesome.

  11. crystal says:

    AH! this is so awesome! had me giggling beginning to end. congratulations! Race Day is huge around here for sure! My parents always pulled my brother & sister & I out of school to go to the track for a day, and we’ve always had huge race parties every year. You’re right, the cars going by DOES induce chills! I haven’t been to the track in years, and this post alone kind of made me want to go again! Fun stuff! :)

    Casey Reply:

    @crystal, Next May, same time, same place!

  12. Was there video of your killer dance moves? If so, you should totally post that.

    Also, I’ve always wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby. Maybe I need to add Indy 500 to the list?

    Casey Reply:

    @Sandra, Oh man, I hope there’s no video, but there was a photographer who thought me to be his muse.

  13. My exact response when I saw you won? OF COURSE.

    xo

    Casey Reply:

    @Just Shireen, Would you ever expect any less from me?

  14. Awesome. The story behind it makes it even better. My family and I drove our car on the Indy 500 track last year and I was nearly peeing my pants. We were told to keep our speed down to about 20 mph though. :(

    Casey Reply:

    @Britta, I’ve never drove the track but Cody ran it during the Mini earlier this month, I’m only going on the track if I can break 180. ;)

  15. Oh My Gosh Casey!! You weren’t kidding when you said that you really were dancing your butt off! What great photos. I am so happy that you were able to attend and take such a fun group. I hope that we get to work together again soon and I would love to invite all of the girls who attended to the Everywhere Society. Thanks again!

    Casey Reply:

    @BrittonEdwards, I never kid about dancing.
    Ever.
    :)

  16. Your dance pictures are hilarious! My inlaws make the Indy 500 a family reunion every year, lots of fun. Your suite looks sweet :)

    Casey Reply:

    @Erica, I don’t even care how silly I look, DEDICATION, that’s what it looks like.

  17. OMG! You’re a rock star! The video is awesome:)

    Casey Reply:

    @Kristen @ The Chronicles of Dutch, Thank you! Cody’s watched it at least a dozen times.

  18. so fun to be part of it. :)

    and I’m so happy you found a sitter and had a great time. you totally deserved it!

    Casey Reply:

    @Katie, I’m so glad you were able to come on Friday. SO FUN.

  19. Hi my name is Kris and i am a casting coordinator in Los Angeles and I am looking for real moms in the Indianapolis area to do a commercial for a national store. i searched blogs and yours came up in my search so thought I would reach out. I put our website in my comment so you can see that we are real and do Americas got talent Casting etc. Please i would love to give this opportunity to your readers. Let me know if you can help.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kris Kelso, Hi Kris, you are welcome to find my email and contact me like a real company rather than self promotion bombing my comments section.
    Thanks, Casey

    Stacey Reply:

    @Casey,

    Ha! Funny. Good for you for not letting her get away with that.

  20. BeachMama says:

    Of course you danced like a madwoman!! Glad you got to experience it, and have a great time too!

    Casey Reply:

    @BeachMama, It really was so much fun, totally worth making a fool of myself for three minutes.

    BeachMama Reply:

    @Casey, Of course we should all learn from your experience in that it is ok to break out into dance or song or whatever just because :)

  21. Dude, if only I would have gotten to see more of the dancing. Or better yet been there. I may have given you a run for your money ;)

    Casey Reply:

    @Stacey, I would have appreciated some more competition!

  22. BrittCTaylor says:

    You are amazing! When I saw you tweet you won the dance off I had the same reaction as Cody – OF COURSE she did!! Love it.
    I went to the race for the first time ever last year and WOW did I fall in love with the whole experience. A nasty head cold kept us home this year, but next year? I’ll be back out there for sure. :)

  23. Seriously awesome! Why am I not surprised you won the dance-off?? :-)

  24. seriously what made watching the Indy 500 all the more exciting for me besides watching it with my favorite car-crazy kid who totally picked the winner…”The Target car, Mom @@@” was knowing you were there. I told him that you were there and, well, he is a ten year old boy.
    Seriously awesome your dancing skills. Looks like it was a fun day and hurray fro protection of alabaster skin!

  25. So dang awesome. I grew up near Indy and we went to the race a few times and had such a blast! But the time trials were even more fun. Good memories and so awesome for you! xo

  26. I laughed out loud reading this post! You are too much. What an awesome story.

  27. I have lived here my wholel ife and never even set foot on the ground of IMS. I decided I’ll gone for the 100th running of the 500. Glad you had such a good time!!

  28. I said the same Cody did when I read on FB that you won those tickets.

    You take such good care of your friends. Of course you won!

  29. Congrats on the win!

  30. You are the so awesome. Full of awesome. The awesomest. (That should totally be a word.)

  31. Of course you won. OF. COURSE. :)

  32. so i read this to cort. and we agreed. it’s stuff like this post right here that tugs at us a little to move somewhere like the Chicago ‘burbs or to Indy.

    If only.

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