Once a year, the cars, parts, crews, and drivers, take flight to Motegi, Japan, home of the Indy Japan 300.
The strict joy of each and every fan crowding around the drivers just builds the excitement more and more. Each race-goer arrives in shirt and cap supporting their favorite driver, many of which adorned the green and yellow, Takuma Sato, colors. In every pre-race interview and report, there wasn't one driver who didn't mention the wild excitement of the fans. To see their flags flying and hats waving, shows their support no matter who wins, they were there for the sport.
Autograph lines stretched forever long as the grand amount of Japanese fans crowded towards the tables to get an opportunity to meet the drivers of the IndyCar series.
"IndyCar is growing in Japan." Driver, Takuma Sato, a home-town favorite, made a sure point to the media during Friday's "Friendship Day" around the track.
In previous years at the 1.5 mile, egg-shaped oval, the track has brought great surprises and unexpected fuel-mileage finishes. In 2009, Scott Dixon took home the checkered flag, leaving his mark with a win on his side of the globe. While, back in 2008, lone-winning female, Danica Patrick, took home her first and only win, after passing Helio Castroneves with only a few laps to go in the race. Years before that, the thrilled crowd of the race got to experience Helio climbing their fence for the first time, waving his fist in victory, and excitement in front of the fans.
No doubt the culture and history of the challenging and tricky Twin Ring Motegi oval, bring eyes to the race, even though it doesn't air until late at night in the US, while the sun shines and sparks fly in Japan.
Tonight's late-night qualifying to those of us in the US will set up the field for tomorrow's race, giving us an even bigger clue as to who may fly back home with the best souvenir of them all... the winner's trophy.