Southsider Voice correspondent
For several years I had the opportunity to drive a charter bus and work with a lot of great people and organizations. One of my favorite companies was Eli Lilly, which had a suite at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during May.
We would load a few buses with Lilly employees and guests and with a police escort travel to the track. From year to year our route was occasionally altered, but we always ended up in a parking lot on Georgetown Road.
Some of Lilly’s guests had traveled a long distance, and this was their first visit to the Speedway. I enjoyed spending some time in the suite and visiting with those folks and answering questions about what was going on at the track and discussing some of the history of the race and the IMS.
Many of the guests relaxed in the stands, and others walked around the track checking out the complex and the fans. The IMS on race day is packed with interesting people.
On race days when the weather was perfect, our team of bus drivers could enjoy the first 400 miles of the race freely. If there was a question about the weather, we all stayed close together so we could quickly return to the buses. If it was a hot day, we headed to the buses before the race was over to fire up the air conditioners.
Generally, we could hear the public address system and would know the race results before our passengers returned.
The track helpers, known as “Yellow Shirts” saw that we got out of the parking lot in a hurry, but after that we were on our own. There were no police escorts available on our return to Lilly’s headquarters. It was good to have a plan in mind ahead of time ... that way we didn’t have to sit in traffic for a long time.
By the time we dropped off our passengers and parked the bus on company’s parking lot, we were tired. But those were good assignments. I truly miss the Lilly staff that we worked with throughout the years.
It’s fun to think about how the Indy 500 draws so many people together.