May 25, 2015
The Indianapolis 500 is all about tradition, next year will
mark the 100th running of the race and will be my 44th
straight race day. The traditions of the Indy 500 are numerous and they include
both those that are included with the actual race festivities as well as our
own personal traditions that have become part of the experience for myself and my
friends. Both were in evidence on the Saturday prior to the race.
At the track itself, the traditions are strong. They host
the annual public drivers meeting where the starters of the race gather in
front of the pagoda for a brief public meeting that is followed by them herding
into buses that deliver them downtown where they will participate in the annual
500 Festival Parade.
In recent years the day prior to the race has been known
as Legends Day where an Indy 500 legendary driver is honored each year. This
year, 4 time winner Al Unser was the honored legend. The day also features a
massive autograph session with current and past Indy 500 drivers and a memorabilia
show where all sorts of Indy Car racing history is on display and sold.
Lance & Beth
This year also featured a large collection of privately
owned former Indy 500 racing cars that were not only on display, but many that
took a few laps around the historic track. It was really cool to see so many
historic cars back on site and conjured up a lot of memories as I watched cars
from the late 60s and 70s back on track.
I spent the morning and early afternoon at the track taking
it all in before heading off to attend what have become personal traditions of
the race. First up was our annual ODC Calcutta which was held again this year
at what I hope will become its permanent home at the Elliot Room at Brugge
This year our friend Brian served as the MC and auctioneer
as a large group of friends bid on the starting field one at a time, with
places one through five and last splitting up the total prize money that was
bid. The event itself is fun and raucous as bidding gets fast and furious as
people angle to get their favorites for the best possible deal. I did very well
scoring the last row as well as Juan Montoya and Conor Daly.
After the Calcutta wrapped up, the majority of my friends
headed over to join the block party/ annual Indy 500 Crawfish boil hosted by
our friends Rick and Becky. An Indy 500 fixture, the boils has become part of
my personal tradition as many of my friends and their families gather for the
huge party featuring hundreds of pounds of crawfish flown in from Louisiana.
Rick & Becky
This year my friend Shannon reunited with her two college
roommates after more than 20 years and having known them all back in the day,
it was pretty cool to catch up after such a long time. The boil is great like
that as all are welcome and families often bring along out of town guests in
for the race making for an interesting and fun get together.