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Indy 500 Fan Experience 500 Spotlight with INDYCAR Fanatics Robert Firth, Roy Mills

Robert Firth grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. His interest in racing began while watching the Indy 500 broadcast with a high school friend, which soon became an annual tradition. Over the years, Robert’s love for the race’s excitement, team strategies, drama, and the overall endurance of the cars and drivers grew. Today, he is an avid NTT IndyCar Series fan and, along with his good friend Roy Mills, has attended the Indianapolis 500 every year since attending their first race with PRIMESPORT in 2010. We talked with Robert and Roy this spring as they prepare to travel from California for another Memorial Day weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with PRIMESPORT, the Official Fan Travel Partner of the Indy 500 presented by Gainbridge®.

Q: How many years have you been attending the Indy 500? And, do you attend any other races?
Robert: After watching the Indianapolis 500 on television for many years, Roy and I decided in 2010 that we had no good reason not to see it in person. Since then, we have been in attendance for every Indy 500.
While I don’t attend any other IndyCar Series events, I have attended the Reno International Air Races for the past 20 years.  

Q: What keeps you coming back to the Indy 500 to watch in person as opposed to watching on your television?  
Roy: The sounds and speed! It’s also great seeing all the drivers at the Saturday morning Drivers’ Meeting. 
Robert: The first time Roy and I visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway and walked through the infield, we were in awe of the sheer size of the venue. We knew then we would attend the next year before even seeing the race we’d come to watch! 
On television, I am only able to see the race. When I’m at the speedway, I can walk through Gasoline Alley, hear the engines being tested, smell the fuel and oil, see pit crews practicing and get shooed out of the way while crews move stacks of race tires. 
In the stands, there is nothing like feeling the visceral impact when the "Start your engines!" command is given. The crowd helps you watch the race by responding as one to every incident, good or bad.
When I am at the speedway in person, I can truly experience the race!

Q: What are a few of your greatest memories about past Indianapolis 500’s?
Roy: At our first trip to the race in 2010, it was a blast seeing Jack Nicholson wave the green flag as the honorary starter. And, while we weren’t there in 2009, I loved watching on TV as Helio Castroneves climbed the fence in celebration after his victory.
Robert: In 2013, crowd-favorite Tony Kanaan’s long-awaited victory after 11 previous attempts. And in 2016 when Alexander Rossi won after his fuel tank went empty on the last lap! Also, while I didn't see it in person, I do remember watching the 1982 race on television when a frustrated A.J. Foyt leaped out of his damaged car, stopped in the pits, ripped off the cover, grabbed tools and worked on his own repairs. The crowd went crazy!
 
Q: Why is the Indy 500 your favorite event to attend?
Roy: I like attending the PRIMESPORT event on Friday night. I get a chance to meet some of the drivers that have previously raced in the Indy 500, including Derek Daly and Dario Franchitti. We also get to interact with other race fans that share the same appreciation for the weekend’s events.
Robert: Since the race only happens once per year, the stakes are huge. Drivers that win the race are immortalized with their likeness on the massive Borg-Warner Trophy. This historic event is steeped with legends and traditions, and it is not uncommon to see past winning drivers, owners, and celebrities come to watch each year. Fans from all over the world travel to Indianapolis for the race weekend and I enjoy the spirited discussions we have with race fans from other countries!

Q: What are you most excited about for the 2019 Indy 500?
Roy: This year, Rob and I are going to be part of the two-seater Indy Racing Experience. It may be my break into being the competitive driver I have always thought I could be!
Robert: I can’t wait to ride around Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 180 mph in a two-seater Indy car as part of my VIP package from PRIMESPORT. I saw other fans in the two-seater cars last year, and I knew it was something I had to put on my list for 2019. I’ll be in “Indy 500 Heaven!” 

Q: You’ve been loyal PRIMESPORT customers since 2010. Why do you continue to attend the event with an Official Travel Package from PRIMESPORT?
Roy and Robert: First, we appreciate the helpfulness of the on-site concierge. While we’re now seasoned Indy 500 veterans, the first few years it was very helpful having someone to contact at any time with questions. We also love traveling to the track on an air-conditioned bus with a police escort! 
Lastly, the “extras” and “upgrades” are something we haven’t been able to find anywhere else. We can pick seats in the best sections of the track and add on experiences such as Pace Car Laps, Pagoda Tour, Pre-Race Pit Access and more.

Q: Do you have any advice or suggestions to offer a race fan that is interested in attending the Indy 500 for the first time?
Roy and Robert: Pick up a "Spotters Guide" to identify the cars/drivers as they speed by during the race. Like a horse race, learn the colors, not the numbers!
Before the race on Sunday, ride the free tram up and down the middle of the infield to enjoy the ambience of Race Day.
If possible, upgrade your seat to the higher Paddock Penthouse section near the start-finish line. From there you can take in the ceremonies, introductions, pit road action, etc. If you’re coming back for a second time, try sitting in a different section to get a different vantage point for the action.
Lastly, don't forget your earplugs!

Be there LIVE to experience all the action at the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge® with unrivaled access provided by PRIMESPORT, the Official Fan Travel Partner of the Indy 500. Visit PRIMESPORT.com to secure your VIP travel package for The Greatest Spectacle in Racing®!

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