When I arrived at the Rev party on Saturday night, it was actually my second visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that day. My first visit had been in the morning, when I bitched and farted my way around the track as one of 35,000 participants in the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. (IMS president Doug Boles calls running the Mini attending Rev “doing the double.”) Needless to say, my second visit was far more pleasant—extreme muscle and joint soreness notwithstanding.
Organizers at IMS did a magnificent job creating a delightful setting for the Methodist Health Foundation fundraiser. Live music by the Impalas, Jordan Applegate, Marrialle Sellars, Flatbed Twitch, and Chad Mills & the Upright Willies set the mood. The open bar didn’t hurt, either.
I had been told I might see celebrities, and I was not disappointed. Within 30 seconds of showing up, I spotted Blue III, the Butler Bulldogs’ mascot, who graciously permitted me to take his photo. Moments later, we found IndyCar driver Justin Wilson with his “date,” long-time (though not current) engineer Bill Pappas. (“I like ’em tall,” said Pappas, who was definitely kidding, since both men are married to very nice and pretty ladies. Although Pappas’s wife is indeed very tall, so I guess he wasn’t kidding about that.)
Within minutes, I’d spotted the better part of this year’s field for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indy 500, including Scott Dixon (with his gorgeous wife, Emma), Marco Andretti, Charlie Kimball, Sebastien Bourdais, Sebastian Saavedra, Pippa Mann, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Sage Karam, James Hinchcliffe, and others. Old-school greats, including two-time Indy 500 winners Al Unser Jr. and Arie Luyendyk, also made an appearance. Thanks to former Colt Gary Brackett’s involvement with Rev—he served as co-chair for this year’s party—plenty of gridiron greats were also in attendance, including Andrew Luck, Robert Mathis, Jerrell Freeman, and David Thornton.
I figure every party-goer gets one gaffe. Mine came early when, going in for a hug with 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, I bumped his wife Lauren’s hand, causing her to drop a plate full of steak from Fogo de Chao (approximate street value: $43.75) all over Tony, thereby staining his no doubt very expensive shirt. Consider this my offer to cover his dry-cleaning bill.
Speaking of food: There was a lot, all of it inspired by IndyCar drivers and prepared by some of the city’s best restaurants. My husband, Olivier, declared every dish to be “awesome.” He was particularly taken by the offerings from Goose the Market and Delicia.
By 10 p.m., Olivier and I were running on fumes—me because of my long run earlier in the day, him from having worked an estimated 28 straight days and knowing he was about to work another 28 more, starting at IMS at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. (He’s a race engineer at KV Racing and runs the Number 11 car, driven by fellow Frenchman and all-around darling guy Sebastien Bourdais.) So we left. But as we drove through the tunnel under turns 1 and 2 on our way out of the track, I couldn’t help thinking of something that celebrity chef Vic Vegas—also on hand for the event—said earlier in the evening: “Nothing against Disney, but this is the happiest place on Earth.”