Indy 500 fans get comfortable with milk, bricks, snake pits

Indianapolis – wearing a green ” I call sick for carb day T-shirt, Rick Lepert took a story of beer and studied a scene on his first trip on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the epidemic that he did not fully recognize.

A betting lounge where the brothers hang out and no bookies are required to place legal bets. A pack of midriff-bearing women taking selfies on InstagramMabel Art, suitable for social media likes.

What’s going on in Indy in the name of AJ Fayette ?! Like two decades of Indianapolis 500 experienced leopards, is it suddenly too modern?

“I just hope they will always keep the same tradition,” he said on Friday, two days before the big race.

Well, that’s about it. The release of thousands of colorful balloons, first scheduled for launch in the Indianapolis 500 in 1947, has been postponed this year due to environmental and wildlife impact concerns.

Still, one day in Indy reveals the essence of Americana, ranging from the songs “God Bless America” ​​and “Back Home Again in Indiana” to hitting 33 drivers on a yard of bricks and partying on Snake Pit until the winning milk and fans are bathed.

“In 1947, launching a balloon was probably the greatest thing in the world,” said IMS President Doug Bowles. “In 2022, launching a balloon is not necessarily the case. It presents a lot to a lot of people. But it wasn’t like the ’47s.’

Yes, balloons, empty indie from the 2020 epidemic and a reminder of the declining crowd a year ago buried in the past. This year, the indie is running at full horsepower.

It’s not just track officials – and indie-area businesses – who gladly welcome 300,000 roaring fans back to the track in full force, more than twice as many as a year ago. Young drivers can’t wait.

Like Rinas VK, a Dutch driver with only two Indy 500s in the last two years.

Ed Carpenter, the driver and owner of the team, said: “It’s been a very fun month. “It’s Rinas’ third but it’s really his first 500. He had never seen a parade, a public driver’s meeting, a full-field autograph session, anything that was just a break. It’s kind of fun to see him go through something he missed and the power it brings to me, not just on race day, we’re on track here. “

Jimmy Johnson has won four times at Brickyard in his NASCAR career.

But this May indie.

Johnson, who covered the race for NBC Sports last year, made his Indy 500 debut on Sunday, deserving of the race’s billing as “the greatest spectacle of the race” in front of a full, bizarre scene.

“The energy I felt was different from anything I’ve seen before, and it was only half full,” Johnson said. “I can’t wait for race day to feel the full force.”

Veteran driver Roman Grozgin has tried to stay “calm and quiet” in his first Indy 500.

“Of course there’s a lot more crowd,” he said of the 50,000 fans on Friday.

According to a pair of indie 500 champs, The Indie Rookie has a glimpse of what lies ahead.

“You haven’t seen anything,” said 2013 Indy 500 champion Tony Canaan

“It’s something no one has shown today,” added two-time Indy 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya.

The dress rehearsal at the 2.5 mile speedway was an explosion. As Pitt Lane opened to traffic on Friday afternoon, the first “Carb Day” crowd in three years erupted in excitement for the final rehearsal of the Indy 500. Even a little rain did not dampen their spirits. Colton Harter’s horrific last-over-end crash only briefly cooled the mood (Herta was unharmed). They mostly stuck around for the Pitt Road Challenge and then jammed into a concert titled Rick Springfield.

Country music star Blake Shelton is the Grand Marshal. There are no top 40 hits for Jim Cornelius, but the singer who followed Jim Nabors will do it again to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” Sixth consecutive year. He also kept alive the tradition of singing the informal music of the Indy 500 in 2020, no more than the drivers and staff to listen to.

“It doesn’t feel empty,” he said. “Last year you looked behind the pagoda and there was no one there. It will be fun to get everyone back. ”

Not for some tradition revelers, a quiet moment on the eve of Race Day when the track is dark.

“There’s a truck with some beer on your track,” Cornelius said. “You sit in the middle of the track and have a beer with Doug Bowles. Okay, most of the work is done. This is where we go. It’s a special moment the night before the beer in the middle of the track. “

Don’t worry, it will get very cold on Sunday in the snake hole.

And that’s not going anywhere.

“The negative pushback I’ve heard is more or less about balloon removal, that’s what the first thing is and we’re going to start removing a whole bunch of pieces as part of the tradition,” Boles said.

Either way, he said. Plus, Roger Pensk won’t allow it.

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