One of my favorite parts of Indy 500 weekend is “Carb Day.” Carb Day is the final practice session for the Indy 500. It’s the time to make sure the car is running exactly the way you want it, that pit stops are clean and fast and that the driver, especially the rookies, have figured out the differences in each of the four turns of the track.
It’s also a gift to the fans. $10 buys you admission to carb day where you can watch all of the drivers race around the track, watch the Indy Lights Race, and watch the pit stop challenge while listening to a live band and end the afternoon with a concert, this year by ZZ Top.Carb Day started well for us because our favorite driver is Dario Franchitti and he topped the speed charts on carb day, turning a lap at 225.574 miles per hour!Plus, through a good friend, we were able to secure pit and garage passes, which meant that for the pit stop challenge we were on the track. To get an idea of our proximity, check out the very short video below. In the Pit Stop Challenge the drivers peal off the start line, stop at a designated point 100s of feet down the track, go through a complete pit stop (the fuel is simulated) and then race off. The fastest wins. To give you more of a feel for it, I took a short video of the start. The arm that jumps in the way is Jim taking photos.
One bracket of the semi-finals was between Heilo Castroneves and Danica Patrick:
He smoked her and then beat Hideki Mutoh to win the Pit Stop Challenge this year. We see that as a good omen for Franchitti, since he won the Pit Stop Challenge last year but then had trouble in the pits that cost him the lead in the race (according to us anyway) – so we’re thinking it’s Franchitti’s race this year 😉
Helio will be trying on Sunday to become the first ever back-to-back Indy 500 winner and a 4 time Indy 500 winner, putting him in the company of AJ Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears. So, it will be a very exciting and perhaps, historic race on Sunday.
After the Pit Stop Challenge it was time to “kiss the bricks.”
Then ZZ Top time. We took a peek at the crowd:
and decided we weren’t die hard enough to stay. Besides we had an evening of Thai and Duckpin bowling planned, but more on that later 😉