Two motorcycle events were being held in Indianapolis: The Indy Mile on Saturday for flat track racing and the MotoGP at the Indianapolis Speedway for road racing.
I've been to the Springfield Mile many times; I know what to expect. The Indy Mile is a bit different. As you can tell in the photographs below, the track is longer, but narrower. This means the turns are sharper. What you can also tell by the color is that the surface is different. Springfield is hard clay while Indy has dirt you can scoop--a cushion track. These differences change the nature of the races. There's more sliding at Indy, but the motorcycles are faster at Springfield. It isn't so obvious in the photographs, but the start/finish line at Indy is farther down the front straight than Springfield, which also changes the nature of the races.
Perhaps from a spectators standpoint, the biggest difference is that Indy is run at night under lights (by the time of the final race) while Springfield is strictly a daytime race. I arrived well in time for the qualification and heat races.
The Lloyd Brothers team supports an Aprilia and two Ducatis. This night, the Aprilia is ridden by Aaron King and the Ducatis by Joe Kopp and Larry Pegram.
The sun is going down. We've just stood up for the national anthem.
The head of Ducati used this time to announce that Nicky Hayden was being signed for an additional two year contract for the MotoGP team. Hayden used to race flat track and remains one of the more popular riders. That's Nicky, wearing the red cap.
Nicky surprised the crowd by running a few laps on the Ducati flat track bike. Certainly, the crowd was cheering the whole time.
There are two classes: the Grand National Twins is the premier class and the Pro Singles is the support class. Here are the Pro Singles lining up for one of their heat races.
The next morning I drove to the speedway for the MotoGP races. Surprisingly (to me) the grandstands are right next to the street.
There didn't seem to be a main ticket booth. Anyway, this trailer is all I saw (and dozens and dozens of street vendors selling tickets). On the right--get your photograph sitting on Valentino Rossi's Yamaha.
The garages had been converted into individual stores selling all sorts of motorcycle related things and souvenirs.
Compared to flat track, this is huge. Of course, Nicky Hayden had his own store.
The cook is holding a meat thermometer in his left hand.
I took time out to walk through the hall of fame and museum.
It's a very large track, so there's lots and lots of walking.
The 125cc racers...
...and, the Moto2 racers. These are both support classes for the premier class: MotoGP.
I had the wrong camera for this sort of thing, so I didn't even try. At the point of this shot, many of the racers were braking so hard that their rear wheel was several inches above the ground.
Nicky is in the all-red leathers. Ben Spies (another American) is leading at this point, but would finish second.
The winner is....Spanish. As it happens, the winner of each of the three races this day would be Spanish.
The races are over (the Speedway can hold an enormous number of people).
The podium is empty. Time to come home.