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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Carb Day

May 27, 2012

Photobucket Dakota & James Hinchcliffe


Photobucket Kathy, Dakota & Michael


Carb Day

The final practice for the Indianapolis 500 is held the Friday morning prior to Sunday’s race and is known as “Carb Day”, even though Indy cars haven’t actually had carburetors in decades. Some traditions are just hard to shake. Carb Day these days includes the final one hour practice for the Indy Cars, the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race, the traditional pit stop competition and finally the carb day concert which this year featured Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Photobucket Josef Newgarden & Dakota

Photobucket Dan & Rubens Barichello

Photobucket Kathy

Kathy has not been able to attend the race or any of the weekends’ events for the past few years due to commitments from work, but this year her new job at Caligo Ventures allowed her to arrive in plenty of time to attend pre-race events such as carb day. I on the other hand have been attending carb day for over forty straight years and have seen it change dramatically in that time. It has become much more of a party scene with a lot of drinking and heavy partying that is probably the closest thing there is to the old days of the turn one snake-pit party scene of the 70s and 80s. 

Photobucket Dakota & James Hinchcliffe


Photobucket Kevin & Pat

As an actual race fan, I had little interest in the drunken party scene. I have my own ritual of going out, meeting with friends, watching the practice and Indy Lights race and then getting the heck out of there before things get too ugly. This year Kathy & I were joined by our friend Dakota, who was making her first trip to the Speedway.

Photobucket Kathy & Dakota

Photobucket Pat, Michael, Dakota & Kathy


Dakota had done her homework, checking out the driver profiles and already hoping to get to meet some specific drivers including the handsome and charming young James Hinchcliffe. With the credentials, access and experience that I have at the track, it was pretty easy to make that happen. As we drove in and parked in the media lot with the special media parking pass we had secured from a friend and arrived just in time for the mandatory drivers meeting in the media center only a few feet from our parking spot.

Photobucket Dakota & Ryan Briscoe

Photobucket Alex Tagliani

Photobucket Hinchcliffe


We were able to meet Hinchcliffe and a number of other drivers as they entered the meeting before we even headed back in to the garage area where we were able to get up close and personal with the cars, teams and drivers as they prepared to practice. We wondered through the garage area checking things out and watching preparation. Next we walked over to the IMS museum where we checked out the wonderful display of historic Indy 500 cars, including the car that the late Dan Wheldon drove to victory last year.

Photobucket Dan Wheldon's 2011 Winner



For the practice session, we headed over to the Tower Terrace to watch practice with my friends Pat & Kevin, who make carb day an annual tradition as well. It was cool because I was able to take Dakota down in to the pits while the cars were practicing, which is a pretty cool experience just in itself, one that gives you a feel for the real power of these cars. In the pits, I ran across a few more friends including my friend Jason who is on Dario Franchitti’s pit crew and my friends Kate (EJ Viso) and Lindy (Ed Carpenter) also have close connections to teams.

Photobucket Kate

Photobucket Kathy, Jason & Dakota

Photobucket EJ Viso

We stayed in the pits through the end of practice before heading back to the stands to watch the Indy Lights race, which was pretty exciting. Estaban Guerrieri won the race after an exciting five car battle and just about as soon as the checkered flag flew, we were headed out of the speedway, weaving through the already drunken fans who were preparing for the Lynard Skynyrd concert which we had no desire to see. It wasn’t so much the band that I was resistant to but the huge unruly mostly drunken crowd filled with a sea of Confederate flags and Budweiser beer.


Photobucket Pat & Ryan Briscoe

Photobucket Jean Alesi


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