So here I was thinking that nothing that interesting was going to happen today while I was at Infineon Raceway for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend. Today was the Fluid Film Pole Day and oh what a pole day it was.
So I was sitting on the wall behind the pit stalls for Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick at the end of the IZOD IndyCar Series practice. Wheldon on my left, Patrick on my right. I stayed there through the Formula Car Challenge Race and then for the Firestone Indy Lights qualifying sessions. It was during the Indy Lights qualifying sessions that this young man suddenly appeared nearby.
He had a curious little box in his hand and he opened it. Inside of it was clearly a ring you’d give to a lady you want to marry. He opened it and closed it quickly. He seemed as if he was practicing his proposal. He was talking to himself out loud, like he was rehearsing what he was going to say. He was pacing.
At first, for like one minute, I thought that he might be some super sweet & romantic race fan that wanted to propose to his longtime girlfriend around the sport for which they shared a love.
But then I quickly started to think that that wasn’t the case at all. I believed that he wanted to propose to Danica Patrick despite the fact that she’s already married and that her husband was there today.
He was really focused on Danica’s pit box. He kept walking up to the barrier that was up to keep the fans out of the pits and would look into the box like he was looking for a particular person. He was wearing all black; black hat, black shirt, black pants and he wasn’t wearing any credentials. Sometimes people don’t use the credential holders, they just stick in their pocket and hold it up when they need to show it. I didn’t see anything sticking out of his pockets though and tickets & pit passes are bulky pieces of paper. I don’t know, maybe he can fold paper really well.
Anyway, there was no one with him. There aren’t, usually, very many women that work for or on race teams. And, really, if he was with one of them he would of had credentials.
He kept pacing, and moving. He couldn’t sit still and it was really making me nervous. At one point he went over to the pit box, with it’s curtains still drawn from the last time Danica was there for practice, and attempted to look inside. He was looking to see if she was there.
At this point I’m looking around trying to locate the closest security people in case something were to happen. I started wondering if maybe I was on another episode of that ABC show “What Would You Do?” Ya know, the one where they have hidden cameras and hire actors to do horrible things to see how people will react, if they’ll do the “right” thing or just ignore it. I was really, really hoping that this guy really did have a girlfriend, ya know, a REAL one that he knew personally.
But no such luck. I had to leave to use the ladies room, but on my way I talked to the first security type person I came across. He was one of those guys in red, with helmets, that I think are normally EMTs or Firefighters in their day jobs. I told him about the “creepy” guy, he said he’d watch out and he thanked me.
I went to the bathroom and then went to get something to eat (I was hungry). I went back to the media lunch tent which sits right next to the entrance of the garage. There’s a clear plastic wall so I could see directly into the garage area. About 3 bites into my sausage sandwich I heard a commotion and saw that Danica was walking out to her car for the start of the IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying sessions.
I grabbed my sandwich and walked as fast as possible back down to the pits. I had to see if this guy would do it. If he would dare to go up to her.
And he did. Almost as soon I as I got there he wandered around the curtained side of the pit box and tried to propose. I couldn’t see him do the actual proposal, or attempt it, but I knew he did something. At the very same time I was talking to this very nice guy about everything that was happening. He thought that if something had happened there would have been a big scene and they would have pushed the guy out. But I didn’t think that it had to have gone down like that.
He did come out from the pit box, still with the ring box in his hand. He kept pacing, like he was trying to figure out how he could still give it to her. And then he left.
A little bit after that, while Danica was out on her qualifying run, I noticed her PR person talking to the head of security for the Indy Racing League. It was then that I knew for sure that I was right in my feelings that there was something not right about that guy. They looked like they were looking for him, the PR person pointed to the area where he had been standing. I got up from my seat and told her in which direction he left.
Later on she told me to let her know if I saw him again. I did see him again. As I was leaving the pits, still during the IndyCar Series qualifying session, I saw him walking towards me. I quickly turned around and started to walk super fast to try to get to Danica’s pits before he did so I could let them know. Well I did get there before he did but I wasn’t able to get anyone’s attention. And some lame reporters standing inside of Danica’s pits were of no help at all.
When I turned back to see if he had shown up, I saw him but he was turning around and walking away.
I didn’t see him for the rest of the day. I don’t know if security found him or not, but I seriously hope I never see him again and that someone helps that guy. This whole thing has really shown me how powerful your “feelings” can be. It didn’t feel right. That guy made me nervous and all he was doing was pacing and holding a ring. If something doesn’t seem right, whatever situation you’re in, tell someone.
On the other non-weird side of things, I got to interview Chip Ganassi today! I thought Tony Stewart was intimidating, but Chip has him beat. He was very nice and gracious, but since it was the first time I’ve ever spoken to a team owner I was really nervous.
Can’t wait to share my interview with him with you guys!