Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fantasy League Winner's 2-Seat Experience

Thanks to the great folks at the Indy Racing Experience last season's 16th and Georgetown fantasy league was transformed from fun for all into fun for all plus a ride of a lifetime for one.

The eventual winner, Mike Krapfl from Ames, Iowa, parlayed his league win into that ride this past weekend at Iowa Speedway.

Here's his story.


By: Mike Krapfl

Davey Hamilton hit the throttle, popped through the gears and smashed me deeper into the 2-seater's cockpit. Then it was hard on the brakes at the end of pit lane and a sharp left to the bottom of Iowa Speedway's variable banking through turns one and two.

"Whoooaaaah, Davey," I shouted inside the head sock and helmet issued by Shonda Kennedy and the crew from the Indy Racing Experience. "Pleeeaaase, can I pull my head out of the air box?"

I'm roughly the size of Justin Wilson; there's barely enough leg room for Danica Patrick in the second seat of the 2-seater. But I did my best to fit: I buried my feet into the compartments on either side of Davey, folded my knees to my chin and still the crew guys told me to get deeper into the seat. I scrunched and wiggled and just managed to drop my head an inch or two.

I still had a clear view of the electric blue grid painted on top of Davey’s helmet. That meant I was about to catch some big air.

I had James Black and Helio Castroneves to thank for that.

James, the curator of this fine blog, sponsored a fantasy racing league last season. Top prize was a 2-seater ride. Heading into the last race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, I was in second place, one point behind Eric K. Podium finishes by Justin Wilson, Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Ed Carpenter had fueled my move to the front.

I picked Helio for the season finale; Eric had Dan. Helio finished four spots ahead, giving me an 86-89 fantasy league victory and this cramped seat behind Davey.

It was adrenaline and sensory overload as Davey drove the IZOD 2-seater up to the wall and down the back stretch. He dove to the yellow line at the bottom of turns three and four. He raced up the front stretch, down to the bottom of one and two. In that second seat, it was heavy into the right side of the cockpit and hard over all the bumps.

I stared at the front Firehawks and wondered how, exactly, they were sticking through the rough corners.
All the while it felt like my head was about to blow away. That's what happens when your giraffe of a neck sticks out the top of a race car at nearly 130 miles per hour.

I grabbed the bottom of the helmet and held on for the ride of my life. Every tenth of a 25-second lap around my home speedway was an open-wheel thrill.

For your chance at some Indy speed, contact the ever-helpful Shonda at www.indyracingexperience.com.


Congrats to Mike! I also played and didn't finish as well. Miss the fantasy league this year. Unfortunately, it didn't have enough dedicated players to continue.

Thanks to you and everyone else who played!

The league started out with a lot of people, but as the season went on and more and more people were out of the running, as you said, the number of picks dropped dramatically. But that wasn't the big problem. It turned into WAY more work and much more time consuming than I had anticipated and chose not to bring it back this year.

I've been working on coming up with a more automated system with weekly E-mail reminders and other upgrades over the summer/winter and hopefully it'll come back for 2012.

Also hoping to put together some type of weekly prize to keep everyone interested through the whole year.

Fingers crossed for a return next Feb/March-ish!

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