Melissa Jacobs
Vice President, Sponsorships
Group1001 and the Gainbridge brand

Greetings from my neighborhood in the town of Speedway, Indiana.

I get to wake up each day and see glorious views of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which holds so much meaning for not only the daily work I do, but for me personally.

My first Indianapolis 500 was 1996 and I’ve only missed one race since. I was recovering from surgery and wanted so badly to ignore doctor’s orders just to be there. I met my husband a block from Gate1 on Main Street and we were engaged in 2017 on the historic Yard of Bricks.

Being a Speedway resident doesn’t simply equal “race fan.” It’s a way of life for our community. Homes decorate, residents park cars in yards, host porch and block parties and Main Street becomes alive with a hustle and bustle that is second to none. It’s this time of year that our businesses ramp up and plan for the people, special events and traditions. As we all travel the IndyCar circuit, we sometimes miss what the communities outside of the fences are doing to prepare for this show to roll into town. I look down onto Main Street from my balcony and feel sad to see favorite restaurants and shops closed, jobs lost and a silence that is deafening.

This year, COVID-19 has changed us – US as a community. It’s changed our sport. It’s changed our schedule. It’s changed how we work and how we connect. But, frankly, I feel even more connected. We’re a community separated by space, but united in spirit.

I’ve heard so many say “I can’t wait until we return to normal.” But, our normal has changed. We aren’t meant to go back to the way we were.  We’re meant to evolve. At Group1001 and the Gainbridge brand we believe that slow and steady win the race. It’s that same slow and steady approach to the days we reunite with friends, family and colleagues; the days we return to dining out and celebrating birthdays and holidays we’ve missed that will get us to the finish line – together.

We’ve been given the gift of time – time to BE still, reconnect even while distanced. FaceTime, Zoom (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an Indianapolis Motor Speedway Zoom backdrop!) and time to make handwritten cards for friends to brighten their day – yes, through old fashioned US mail delivery. If you want to bring joy to someone’s day – try it. Make card or note and mail it to an unsuspecting friend. It’s such a sweet surprise!

Thanks to Michael Andretti, the Andretti Autosport team and Zach Veach. We’re able to continue our efforts with social media takeovers, storytelling and Zach is scheduled to drop in to a Zoom classroom e-learning session April 22 with students in Austin – just in time for the COTA iRacing Challenge!

This isn’t a story we’re following, but rather a story we are writing…day by day…no plan…no rules…no instructions. And when the day comes when we can look back – we’ll all be better in some way.

Slow and steady – together! 

Be well,