This was my first time at an Indy car race in a very long time (last one Pocono - do the math) and I will echo all of the positives. I was there all three days, and even day 1 was well organized. The paddock passes were worth every penny especially on Friday and Saturday, and the general admission viewing areas were not bad at all. GA got all of the shade! If you planned a bit, you could be surprising close to the track - safely.
Some random thoughts
1. The differences in drivers were obvious watching practice. Power is an animal - very smooth, VERY fast, and always inch perfect on the track. RHR, Briscoe, Bourdais, and Rubens were also very fast, very aggressive and smooth. Some drivers like Pagenaud were a bit wild but still fast.
2. Kimball looked much better than Graham.
3. At other other end was Marco. Wild, erratic, and not very fast. I wasn't surprised when I heard he hit the tires in 1. He outbraked himself multiple times in practice. Sato was also a bit wild, but faster with fewer mistakes
4. Simona was really hustling a car with an obvious stone of an engine that seemed to be really to have a very narrow power band and no power to boot.
5. Dario and Helio both were pushing hard, but both seemed just a tick off with a lot of brake lockups, etc
6. It was hard to believe this event was put together at the last minute. Almost everything was well organized, and other than some poor sight lines for spectators in some areas, viewing was good.
7. I love the smell of race fuel in the morning
8. Almost all food and drink at the concession stands was $5
9. The chicane may have been a "story", but almost everyone was getting through well. But there was an obvious reward to push the edge and that bit a number of drivers
10. The indoor air conditioned paddock was great. Access to the teams was very good and open. While they tried to hide some things, you could see more than expected.
11. Some drivers seemed in "hiding", but most were out and about. They had to go through the spectator area to get from the paddock to the hospitality area so a couple were wandering around a lot on their scooters. About the scooters - Hinch, use your horn!
12. Newgarden in real life is just like he is in his videos. Very approachable, friendly, and funny.
13. For all of his recent health issues, AJ looked pretty good.