It was not just a normal day at the office for Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen.
Instead of reporting to work at the Colts complex on Thursday morning, he reported to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – where he pulled on a fire suit and walked down to Pit Lane to wait for his ride.
When the driver pulled up, it was racing icon Mario Andretti.
The crew strapped Bowen into the back of the IndyCar two-seater and away they went – with his parents looking on.
His mom, Colleen, was admittedly a little nervous.
“It’s a little crazy. But it’s exciting,” she said. “And he’s such a fan of all sports that I’m excited for him.”
She also knew he was in good hands.
And just like that, it was over. Five miles in two laps – with a legend behind the wheel.
“It’s like playing golf with Tiger Woods, shooting baskets with Michael Jordan. And to do it in this venue, that was awesome,” Bowen said. “Just knowing how much him and his family have meant to the world of racing – he’s an icon.”
It also gave him a better perspective of the job of an IndyCar driver.
“The appreciation that you have after just doing two laps. And I’m at 180 – they’re going 220 on race day,” he said. “With 33 cars, the traffic – I can’t even imagine. Those guys are crazy!”
But Andretti made it look easy.
“The guy is 77 years old and he acted like it was a lap around 465,” said Bowen. “But then, the guy has probably turned a million laps in this venue.”
For Bowen, who grew up a racing fan, it was a dream come true.
“I love the race, I love the month of May, I love the sound, I love being out here,” he said. “I grew up here in Central Indiana, went to the race with my dad when I was younger and currently sit in turn four. I go with a group of buddies every year. It’s part of Indy and it’s such a worldwide event and this venue is so massive, to have it here in our own backyard is awesome.”
But to experience it tucked behind a racing legend was something he never imagined himself doing.
Bowen won the Mario Andretti Experience at an event he attended last year with his dad, Brad.
“My dad is a member of AAA and there was a Q and A with Mario Andretti last year right before the race. So, we went Monday of race week into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. They had a drawing, it was probably about 200 people and they drew my name.”
You know what they say, the harder you work – the luckier you get. And no one works harder than Kevin Bowen, who is constantly posting new content to Colts.com to satisfy the insatiable appetite of Colts fans for information on their team.
Brad will be back at the track to take his turn next week – Bowen and his brother, Ryan, bought him a two-seater ride for Father’s Day.
And Kevin will be back on race day – where he’ll see the Indianapolis 500 like never before.
“The traffic, the passing, the demand of it all. These guys are doing this for a living. It’s not just a recreational drive around a two and a half mile oval.”
Some things are never the same once you see behind the curtain. But IndyCar racing isn’t one of them.
Once you get a glimpse of what the drivers experience, the wonder of it only grows.
For information on the Indy Racing Experience, visit: https://www.indyracingexperience.com/experiences/purchase.
For the Mario Andretti Racing Experience, visit: https://www.andrettiracing.com/?gclid=CjwKEAjwjPXIBRDhwICRg-DbgHISJADP6QXpTY3Gb1V0z69s1XSlaLJ_0GgmKpOrwSfZnKoRAUsodxoCsgTw_wcB.