|Indianapolis 500 Carburation Day
Friday, May 26, 2023
Yesterday evening, I found a 4th Turn Infield Parking Pass on Craigslist
and met a scalper in a parking lot who sold it to me for double price - $50.
Houston race fans Henry and Irma had been in town all week. I finally
met up with them yesterday evening for dinner. We ate at Shapiros, a
100-year-old Jewish Deli and Cafeteria that is located on the south side
of downtown. They gave me some garage passes that are good for after
the race on Sunday.
E.T. was smart this year and skipped golfing after work so that he could get
here at a more reasonable time. He drove down from Michigan and arrived
at midnight. This enabled us to get up earlier on Carb Day.
As we packed up the car this morning, I realized I no longer had lawn chairs.
Fortunately, my neighbor lent us a couple.
I took the interstate to the west side and came down Georgetown Rd to
enter the speedway. Happily, traffic was not a big issue.
We ended up parked at the far southwest of Turn 4 Parking - just past the
tunnel and near Tower Terrace. This was a good spot.
We were here in time to watch IndyCar practice!
I can't remember the last time that happened.
I planned to sit in the Paddock Penthouse, that way we wouldn't have to
move to watch the Pit Stop Competition (PSC) later.
We crossed through the tunnel and I sat down on a bench to wait for a golf cart ride.
I figured I should save steps where I could so I wouldn't wear out at the end of the day.
E.T. was so anxious to get to a seat, he stood around literally twitching like a 5 y/o
waiting on Santa Claus.
I figure the day is about having fun and not stressing out, so take your time.
We had to wait 5 or 10 minutes, then a cart took us to a Paddock Penthouse elevator.
We sat in Box 23, a great spot to watch from.
E.T.'s twitching disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared.
We were in the shade and there was a breeze. It was a beautiful day.
There were lots of people here today - I could see them at both ends of the track.
|Colton Herta - Andretti Autosport
|Simon Pagenaud - Meyer Shank Racing
|Marco Andretti - Andretti Autosport
|After practice ended, I went to get some food.
I walked along the Penthouse walkway and every
concession stand I came to was closed!
I walked on and on, getting more and more discouraged.
When I finally reached the very end, there was an open food stand.
(Why wasn't it in the middle of the stands?)
Two plain burgers and hot dogs cost me $35.
I could see the Tower Terrace filling up with more people as those
sitting at the far ends made their way to the center to watch the PSC.
There were a lot of fans who had pit passes who came out on the
track to kiss the bricks and watch the action up close.
The PSC is for the pit crews. The winners receive money and prizes.
16 drivers from 9 teams participated.
The names of the team members were displayed on video monitors.
How It Works:
Two drivers at a time sprint side-by-side up to where
their pit crews are stationed. They get their tires changed,
then take off and cross a finish line.
There are 3 elimination rounds that end up with two
drivers who vie for the win.
The Chip Ganassi team won with driver Scott Dixon.
Pit Stop Competition Results
|Romain Grosjean - Andretti Autosport
|Upper Area of Paddock Penthouse
|Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Graham Rahal) vs Team Penske (Will Power)
|Andretti Autosport (Kyle Kirkwood) vs Ed Carpenter Racing (Rinus VeeKay)
|6-second video brings you the sound
|28-second Video of a Pit Stop
We headed back into the infield and to my car.
I was really hungry, but there was no food stands nearby. Or toilets.
We had to hike to the Tower Terrace stands. There was a rest room,
but no concession stands were open.
What I really wanted was some 'good' food from a independent vendor,
but there were none. It seems to me that there should be a lot of food
vendors for a huge crowd like this (80,000 people?)
I walked around the grassy parking area hoping to find someone grilling out who might share.
People were tailgaiting - playing games, drinking and snacking.
Then I came across these guys -
They were grilling hot dogs and giving them away for no reason
other than to be nice.
They gave me a dog and I felt like they had saved my life!
They also refused to take any money.
It was a huge hot dog too and delicious!
They said they got them from Moody's Butcher Shop, a local company.
It reminded me of back in the day when someone roasted an entire
lamb in the infield, then fed the crowd. That was great.
Anyway, I realized how stupid I was for not bringing food.
I had it in my head that I was going to travel light today.
I had figured I'd be parked outside the track and it wasn't until last night
that I scored this parking pass. Man! I could have brought a ton of stuff.
We hung out and could heard Soul Asylum playing.
We eventually worked our way over to the 3rd turn where the stage was.
There was a huge line of cop cars, but I didn't see many cops inside the concert area.
My neighbor's chair folds up like a tube, so
it was easy to bring along.
I found the one shady spot in the whole area
and put my chair there. I was probably the
most comfortable person at the concert.
E.T. sat on some white thing next to it.
We still had beer left.
|Forrest Gump, wearing his Bubba-Gump Shrimp hat, was present.
Asked why he was here, he said,
"I just felt like ... drinking whisky from a tiny bottle."
By the time we got in, Soul Asylum had just
finished, so we had to wait a while before the
next act came on, which was Bryan Adams.
He had the hit "Cuts Like a Knife" back in 1983.
Afterwards, we got separated going back to the car and I couldn't find it!
I was walking in circles and getting exasperated.
We were parked in a huge field that had no aisle markers, etc.
Also, it's impossible to find a car surrounded by pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans.
I was pressing my 'horn' button on my remote, but never heard my car.
Next time I'll attach a helium balloon to my car with a long string.
Eventually I spotted E.T. who was standing a little outside the parking area.
He knew where the car was. Cool. Now I didn't have to buy a new car.
We had no trouble exiting the speedway.
Just as I got to 30th street, they shut the east-bound lane down,
so I had to take 34th over to Lafayette Rd and then head south.
While the hot dog saved my life, I was still hungry.
We stopped at Shapiro's and I ordered the exact same thing I'd ordered there last night.
Before we left, we bought some goodies from their deli.
I got a canoli and an apricot bar.
When I got home, I saw E.T. had bought a big chocolate eclair!
Oh man, I love those things. I hadn't seen those. I was jealous.
I went hot tubbing and that eased my aches from walking all day.
The best part of the day for me was the Indycar practice and that Moody hot dog!
Camera Note: Since 2007, all the pictures in my photo journals were taken with a Nikon D80.
Beginning with this photo journal, pictures are being taken with a Canon EOS 90D.
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We sat across from the following driver's pit boxes -
|Pit crews work hard and
it's nice they get some recognition