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

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,