I'm counting down the days until the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
I'm not a race fan in the fanatic sense. I've only been to the Indy 500 a handful of times. My memories center around listening to the race on the radio in the backyard while filling out the leading laps grid from the Indianapolis Star.
I do love Indianapolis, tradition, and most of all a theme! Each day I will share a memory or tidbit of history.
Last week for the day 91 until the Indy 500 countdown post I told the story of how I sort-of met Paul Newman in 1983 while I was working in a restaurant.
For the 85 days countdown I will tell you how I met Arie Luyendyk, Jr. while working in a bar.
We were super-busy at the Red Key and the whole place filled up within minutes. I was bopping from table to table taking orders and carding folks I don't know.
I walked up to to two people and asked to see their IDs. Even as I asked I realized that it was probably silly to card them, but I was already committed so I joked that at some point everyone started looking young to me.
They were both gracious and laughed as they gave me their licences. The first one I looked at was an Arizona ID. I typically look at the photo and the birth date and the name doesn't always register. I have a sister living in Phoenix so I glanced at the address and then his name. Even I have heard of Arie Luyendyk, Jr. For the record he's 34.
He got bumped for the lineup in the Indy 500 in 2005 and did make the gird in 2006. He started at 31 and finished in 28th place, only completing 54 laps before handling problems took him out of the race.
He has also raced in the Grand Prix and is an Indy Lights series winner, and now races off-road trucks (that's a real thing), earning a bronze medal at the 2015 X Games. Oh, and his Dad is two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.
Most of my friends know Arie, Jr. as a contestant on The Bachelorette. My research shows that he is also generous with his time, most recently raising $100,000 for the Phoenix Children's Hospital by competing on Jeopardy.
And he was kind enough to pose for this photograph when I told him about my countdown to the Indy 500.