The second annual Winter Indy Tweetup– a grassroots, IndyCar fan event co-hosted by Monica Hilton and Elizabeth Lenzi, is officially in the books. In today’s blog, the event’s creators recap highlights from the weekend. New to the Winter Indy Tweetup? Read the pre-event blog post on IndyCar.com and visit their website.
The second annual Winter Indy Tweetup is officially in the books. Finishing in P1: the fans. So now it’s time to crank up the hurdy gurdy and give you the recap.
WIT 2010 kicked off with a Welcome Party at McGilvery’s Pub in Speedway, IN. Attendees got a chance to grab some grub and mingle with one another. Martin Plowman stopped by to chat with the fans and give us his off-season updates. Don Kay of Autosport Radio was also in the house to help us with the audio and brought videos of past Indy 500s. We were also lucky to have legendary IMS historian Donald Davidson do a customized trivia contest just for WIT attendees. Paul Dalbey took home the grand prize: a rear wing flap from Dan Wheldon’s memorable 2010 Sonoma race. All of the participants took home a limited edition Indy 500 Centennial Grid poster.
We woke up Saturday morning to the first real snowfall of the season, but we didn’t let that stop us! The IndyCar Nation showed up in force, throwing a middle finger to the weather and screaming, “This better be worth it!” And worth it, it was.
First snow of the season at the Museum -Photo by Mike Nelson
The event started in the museum’s Tony Hulman Theatre with an exclusive update from Daniel Incandela , Director of Online Media at IMS. Daniel reminded everyone to keep tweeting, as both IMS and the league are listening. They love the good tweets, but also appreciate the bad, as it helps them to figure out how they can do better. Daniel also talked about the upcoming promotions for the Centennial celebration of the Indy 500. We can’t speak for everyone, but we are ridiculously excited about some of the new things in store.
Comment below and share your Twitter account if you were in the Saturday morning crowd! -Photo by Mike Nelson
Next, fans were treated to a private Q&A session with Indy Lights drivers James Hinchcliffe ,Stephan Wilson and Phillip Major , who let us know how they were doing during the off-season and kept everyone laughing the whole time. After that, Sarah Fisher Racing’s own Ed Carpenter stopped by for a chat. If you want to know what was said, you should have been there. Ahhhhh, we kid. Everyone was excited to find out about the drivers’ plans for 2011 and how they’re spending their off-season.
Ed Carpenter Greets IndyCar Fans -Photo by Mike Nelson
Due to the big pile of facepalm (snow) outside, we were unable to do the track tour, but that didn’t stop the fun. Next, attendees did a scavenger hunt – a new twist on exploring the many cool displays at the IMS Museum.
Things were rolling along, but they were about to go flat out as we headed to Fastimes Indoor Karting for the Fanimation Grand Prix. The grid was set at 16, until surprise guest, IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani added his name to the list and showed the field how it’s done. After several hours of tough competition, we crowned a winner.
Alex Tagliani Races with IndyCar Fans -Photo by Mike Nelson
Did you compete against IndyCar driver, Alex Tagliani, in the Grand Prix at FastTimes? Comment below and let us know! -Photo by Mike Nelson
We finished off the night at the Main Event Party at Broad Ripple Tavern. After some delicious food and drink, we kicked off the raffle. All weekend long, participants had gathered tickets for attending (and winning) events. We also gave out tickets for the important credentials, such as “furthest traveled” and “most Indy 500s attended.” Some of the completely incredible raffle prizes included autographed die-cast cars from Scott Dixon, Danica Patrick, and Graham Rahal, the program for TK’s very first win (catch an additional video where TK Says ‘Hello’ to Tweetup attendees), various IndyCar parts, some great Champ Car memorabilia, autographed apparel and MUCH more. Attendees had a great time and left with ARMLOADS of prizes and freebies.
Over the past few weeks, we had gathered video messages from IndyCar drivers who were unable to attend WIT. We had hoped to show the video at the Main Event Party, but didn’t have the proper AV capabilities– so watch it here.
Finally, we bid farewell to friends new and old at the grand-daddy of breakfast joints, Charlie Brown’s in Speedway. It was a great chance to unwind and say goodbye to friends new and old we’d caught up with throughout the weekend.
All weekend long, fans were able to purchase the 2011 IZOD IndyCar calendar, with proceeds benefitting the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and Racing for Kids.
We’re SO thankful to everyone who came out to WIT 2010. Check out additional pictures from this weekend on the Winter Indy Tweet Up Facebook page.
-Monica Hilton and Elizabeth Lenzi