IRL: Indy500: Carb Day Commentary

I slipped over to the back stretch during the Carb Day active running and snuck a peek from behind the Black Flag Station just past the suites. The cars pass here so quickly one is hard pressed to read their number. Color recognition is a must ...

I slipped over to the back stretch during the Carb Day active running and snuck a peek from behind the Black Flag Station just past the suites. The cars pass here so quickly one is hard pressed to read their number. Color recognition is a must here.

No less than Lloyd Ruby stopped by to show a friend from Texas what speed is like in a champ car, Indy style.

Carb Day is not about carburetion, if it were it would be called 'fuel injector day'. It really is a final tune up and leak check after a three day layoff. It is also a day off from work as thousands of fans stream into the track. Many never made it. The line on 16th Street was three wide and stretched back about ten blocks with only 55 minutes left in the designated track time period.

A great mystery is why there was such a small crowd, estimated at 20,000, on Pole Day and a huge crush of people on Carb Day, perhaps ten times as many. It certainly isn't lack of interest, despite the gloomy comments of the local racing reporter. Perhaps it was the weather, 56 degrees cold and overcast Saturday, high 70's and sunny today. Perhaps it was the excellent TV coverage on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, and local stations. Whatever.....

The souls who came out for the even less poorly attended Sunday Show on Bump Day missed a day of great drama. Billy Boat pulled off a near impossible feat of qualifying a totally untried car and Davy Jones qualified for the race after being so severely injured at Orlando in 1996. In the ensuing years Davy had to relearn nearly everything we take for granted, balance, walking, talking, etc. 'Twas sad he got bumped but his accomplishment was a triumph nonetheless.

There continues to be a rather heavy percentage of people who disdain the 500 and the IRL since the split, you know, the ones who never come here but are unqualified experts in what it used to be and isn't now. They always cry out that 'the best drivers aren't here now,' never mind that their champion owner and driver are here, one of their top owners is here with an IRL driver, and one of their top rookies, Kenny Brack, has stated he will be back.

These perpetual doubters are simply in search of a cause and won't be influenced by the facts. From my little perch by the trackside today it couldn't get much better no matter who was in the cockpit or whose league rules applied.

From my corner the fact remains that if CART had CarteBlanche at the speedway we would see a quick return to 'the mess we wuz in'--all the big guys with the special parts and no parity to level the playing field for the little guys and barely enough entries to fill the field.

I'll stay on Tony George's side of the fence, at least until the prices equalize and the distribution.

Len in Indy Len_Ashburn@Prodigy.Net

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Billy Boat , Kenny Brack , Davy Jones , Tony George , Lloyd Ruby