Ziegler gets thrill ride to ballpark

Ziegler gets thrill ride to ballpark

OAKLAND -- A's pitcher Brad Ziegler took a very unconventional route to McAfee Coliseum for Wednesday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays -- in the backseat of a two-seat IndyCar.

Ziegler, with six-time Indianapolis 500 racer Davey Hamilton as his driver, navigated the streets of Oakland, as well as Highway 880, to McAfee Coliseum.

It wasn't the typical way Ziegler gets to work each day -- normally he drives his street car to the Coliseum. This was a reward from Infineon Raceway for setting the modern Major League record by beginning his career with a 38-inning scoreless streak.

The drive began at Jack London Square under a California Highway Patrol escort, winding through city streets before getting onto Highway 880. Ziegler was decked out in his Oakland A's jersey and sunglasses.

"That was incredible," Ziegler said of the nine-mile drive to the Coliseum. "There is so much power in this car, and we weren't even going that fast. You could feel every vibration. It's too bad I won't be able to watch the IndyCars at Infineon next week; we'll be on a road trip.

"I've followed Danica [Patrick] after meeting her, and hope I can see a race in person when it comes out here next year. I really enjoy IndyCar racing, it is my favorite type of racing."

The unique event was also a promotion for the upcoming PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County at Infineon Raceway, Aug. 22-24. The race weekend will feature all of open-wheel racing's biggest stars, including Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti and defending Sonoma champion Scott Dixon, who also won the Indy 500 earlier this year.

"It's always neat to interact with athletes from other sports," Hamilton said. "We talked about baseball and motor sports and I think he had a great time. I know he enjoyed the experience."

Ziegler got a little taste of the Indy lifestyle on Wednesday. He was traveling at speeds well below the customary 200 mph of IndyCar, but it felt pretty fast to the right-hander.

"It's still an adrenaline rush like being on the mound, but it's a different kind of adrenaline rush. It just came in a different form," Ziegler said.

The IndyCar that was used for the drive is totally street-legal and has been driven on streets from Miami to Times Square in New York City. It is a real-style IndyCar equipped with a modified engine, which makes it capable of being driven through streets and on highways.