Carb Day - Celebrities
Thursday - May 23, 2002
Brian, Joy and I rode into Speedway early today. Traffic was pretty light for Carb Day. We first had to stop at the IRL office so that I could pick up our pit/garage passes. The IRL office is across the street from the track. We decided to leave our vehicles there and walk in.
Since we were entering from the south, we checked out all the tents and displays now setup in the museum parking lot. There was a Indy car on display that had a paintjob that featured John Mellencamp's album from last year. The song off that album, Peaceful World, has been used as the IRL's theme song since last May.
Here is a cool 60's Chevrolet, the Astro
Bombardier had a tent setup displaying some of their fun toys - jet skis, marine motors, ATV's and snow mobiles! Cool.
There were also several race Corvettes on display as well as a tent full of Chevy pace cars, mostly Vettes and Camaros.
Some IRL drivers who sell Pepsi
We eventually made our way over to the garages. We walked around and saw several drivers, such as Robbie Buhl who pedals around on a bicycle. I saw Robbie McGehee looking forlorn, leaning on his crutches.
Mario is a fan favorite as always.
Shigeaki Hattori is popular with the Japanese press.
John Mellencamp's lovely model wife, Elaine.
Here is a cool bike amongst the many cool bikes in the garage area.
Girls in the garage area..
Warming up the engine (or transmission)
Driver George Mack.
TO THE PITS!
The cars were going out for their last practice before race day and we wanted to take full advantage of our pit passes.
The stands by the tower filled up. Having pit passes is GREAT! Especially on Carb Day since alot of cars are out testing and the crowd is big. (Lots of people wishing they were you!) It has been 10 years since I've had pit passes! I had Brian try and snap a picture of me now in a pose similar to the one taken of me on the pit wall back in '92. I even wore the same tshirt!
We walked along the pits snapping pictures of drivers. Some girls went up and got autographs. Joy went up to Jeff Ward and we took her picture with him. Here is a presentation of the drivers I snapped:
Paul Tracy and Jeff Ward
Al Unser, Jr.
Brazilian fans ....... and ....... Bruno Junqueira
Jimmy Vasser was driving for Rahal Letterman Racing.
I'm on the right side of the fence!!
Sam Hornish, Jr.
Hornish's young girlfriend
Firebird giving me a new hair style!
Here they are painting the backdrop up on the awards platform. By race day, they had wrapped the 15-foot tall concrete pedestal with shiny stainless steel.
After we'd traversed the pit lane from end to end, we wandered down into turn 1 and grabbed a bite to eat. They had gyros and deli sandwiches that were good!
Joy and I sitting in the Pit garage terrace.
The area around the tower terrace where they were having the pit stop competition was very full and we didn't attempt to enter into it. We did try our pit passes, but they wouldn't let us down to where the action was - no big surprise. We ended up back in the plaza behind the tower. It was pretty full already, in anticipation of the concerts to come. They were jamming some Mellencamp over the speakers. (John 'Cougar' Mellencamp is a local and is very popular.) GO HERE to see pics of the concert.
We hung out there a long time. I watched the coolers as Brian and Joy went back to the garages to try and see Little Al. Al Unser, Jr. won the Indy 500 on the day their eldest daughter, Alaina, was born, so they especially like him.
Thousands of people packed into the plaza for the late afternoon concerts. The music was good and it was a fun time.
When it was over, we went to return our passes to the IRL office in the garages, but it was after 6 and they were already closed. I had to swing by the next morning on my way to work to drop them off. I always take the day after Carb Day off, but this year I'm short on vacation days.
If you read my Opening Day page, you saw that there was a killdeer bird that setup a nest on the sidewalk. From this picture you can see the barrier they have since erected to keep people away from him.