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DAN'S PHOTO JOURNALS
CARB DAY
INDIANAPOLS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2021
Getting ready for Race Weekend takes a lot of
work, especially if you'll be hosting friends and
overnight guests.  I never know who might show
up over the weekend.

As usual, my race buddy E.T. from Flint Michigan
drove down after working all day and then playing
golf.  He arrived at 2:15 a.m. exhausted, just as I
was going to bed.

We talked excitedly in the garage, over some
cigarettes, about the upcoming days, as well as
a quick catch-up on the previous year.  The Indy
500 was ran in August without spectators in 2020,
and ET didn't come down.  That was the first year
E.T. had missed the 500 since the early 1990s.  

I was psyched up again about the weekend.  
E.T. made his way back to my office, where I'd
set up an air mattress for him.  I turned on the
TV in the living room to try to forget about the
500, so that I could calm down and go to sleep.  
I dozed off sometime after 4 a.m.

I had a restless sleep, awaking every hour or so.
None the less, I awoke early.

It rained last night and this morning.  The weather
radar showed a big rain system moving through
Indiana that would last all day.  Whether there
would be a chance for the race cars to come out
and practice today was anyone's guess.

I had plans to drive to the Rural King store in Avon
(west of Indy) where they reportedly had some
AM/FM headphones for sale.  I wanted to try
them to see if they'd work at the track, as I don't
use scanners. IndyCar Radio broadcasts on
107.5 FM here in central Indiana.  

I thought I'd head there first and then go sit at the
speedway and wait for the rain to stop.

Carb Days are normally hot.  I guess I was
running on auto-pilot when I dressed, as I chose
clothing for a hot day.  It wasn't till I was about to
leave that I realized it was cold out.  I quickly
grabbed a raincoat and then we hit the road.

As I drove toward Avon on the interstate, we
listened to the IndyCar channel on XM
satellite radio. To our surprise, race cars were
coming out on the track!  

As I now set my sights on the speedway, cars on
the highway began passing at 100 mph, even in
the right lane!  Apparently other race fans had
heard the good news!
The rain held off just long enough for IndyCar to
get in the two hour practice they had hoped for!  
The last time they were on track was last
weekend when the cars were setup for qualifying
with higher boost and different engines.  Carb
Day practice is important.

It was 4 p.m. and we hung around letting the
crowd dissipate.  As we walked out of the stands,
it was raining.  A new mid-engine Corvette sat
alone in the plaza, water beading on a beautiful
paint job.  We stood around admiring it from
various angles.  I had not seen one up close
before.  I had even visited local Chevy dealerships
several times, but the cars were picked up by
owners as soon as they arrived, so I never got to
see one.
I had bought two Carb Day tickets and an infield
parking pass for $75 back in 2019.  Last year,
after Carb Day was cancelled, IMS asked me if I
wanted my money back or to roll it over to next
year.  I chose the latter.  Since then, every Carb
Day event except practice had been cancelled.  

IMS cancelled infield parking for this year too.  
They gave me a parking pass to Lot 7, on the
north side of the track.  I planned to sit in Turn 1
and was NOT going to park way out in the North
40!

So I looked for parking on the south side.  I took
10th Street and turned onto Main Street in
Speedway.  I immediately saw there was no
parking as well as a traffic jam.  I turned around
as soon as I could, got back on 10th and drove till
I saw Dotlich Crane and turned on that street
(Polko?) That takes you down to Main Gate
Parking, which borders 16th Street.  

The IMS gate attendants were inflexible about my
parking in their $20 parking lot with my $25
parking pass.  Anxious to get to the track before
rain again sprung up, I angrily gave them twenty
bucks and parked at the far north-west section of
the lot, closest to Turn 1.

E.T. and I hurried along with our coolers, entered
the track by the ticket office and moved straight
to the stands, afraid rain could return at any
moment.

We walked right into box 7 in Stand E to witness
a line of IndyCars packed tight, screaming toward
us at 240 mph!  I whooped loudly, happy that I'd
made it.  The cars were zipping by at unbelievable
speeds; the noise and view amazing!  

ET grabbed an aisle seat a few feet up from the
track, and I chose one two rows behind him.

We had planned to sit in the upper deck, but
these seats were great, and we stayed there.

This was not an ordinary practice!  It was more
like a race!  Seventeen cars circulated close
together.  Passes were made!  Thanks in part to
the cool temperature (60 degrees) the cars were
running extra fast, despite the wind.  
Averaging 224-228 mph per lap, this was likely
faster than what I'd see on race day!

We drank our beer and snacks and enjoyed the
show.

I eventually put on my plastic raincoat for warmth.
Racing buddy Koz was stuck in Georgia
and E.T. gave him a live dose
of the track action via FaceTime.
After some peanut shells landed on me from the sky,
I realized I was sitting right below the edge of the
upper deck.  People were constantly coming up the
steps, standing beside me and looking around.
I had left my camera at home, but had a old pocket camera in my car, which took the photos above.
The photos and video below were taken by E.T. with his phone.
I headed to Avon with E.T. to buy the radio headphones.
E.T. directed me with his phone to avoid traffic jams.  
As luck would have it, I got the last pair!

By this time, it was 5 p.m. and I wanted to kill time for
an hour and avoid the brunt of rush hour in Indy.

We were heading to a brewery in neighboring Plainfield,
when I spotted a coffee shop and wheeled in there. I
bought some donut holes and some
sweet, waffle-like
treats
from Holland, called stroopwafels.  E.T. says he
buys those all the time up in Michigan.  They were great
for dunking.

At 6 pm, we finally headed homeward.

What a great day!  Originally I had been upset that there
was not going to be an Indy Lights race or a rock
concert.  I had not expected to see such an exciting
IndyCar practice though.  Coupled with our location to
watch it, I could not have been happier.  I am now glad I
had pre-ordered the tickets.  If not, I may not have even
gone today due to the rain!
The C8 Corvette Stingray is much cooler up
close.  This one was a hardtop convertible and
the sticker price was over $90k.

There was a man standing nearby under a tent
who guarded the car. He travels around the
country for GM and their show car thing.  He likes
it and gets paid well, but the long hours at Indy
was wearing on him.  He said he had to be there
all night too, to guard the cars. One night, some
drunk guy climbed the tall fence around the ticket
entrance.  The guard shined a bright flashlight on
the guy and told him he had two ways of leaving,
in handcuffs or back over that fence.  The guy left
the way he came.  Heh heh.
I can envision the rear of this Corvette being the front end of a Camaro.
25-second Video of IndyCar Practice
A stroopwafel is a wafer waffle made
from two thin layers of baked dough
joined by a caramel filling. First made
in the Dutch city of Gouda, stroopwafels
are popular throughout the Netherlands.