Indianapolis, start your engines – it's race time! 200 miles, 500 laps, and a celebratory glass of milk – we were made for this weekend!
The shortened form of “Carburetion Day,” Carb Day is the last practice session before the race for drivers. You can get a sense of “race day” by watching the drivers practice their drafting and passing skills in heavy traffic. In previous years, pre-COVID, the track held a big concert to watch at the end of the day. While the concert and Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge have been canceled for 2021, you can still get in via general admission and watch the drivers practice for the big race.
I’ve heard tales of 10th street being back up to 465 by the time the gates open at 6 am – so you’ll want to get there early! The fanfare is my favorite part to watch. From the Star Spangled Banner to my personal favorite, Back Home Again in Indiana (does anyone else tear up during this song?!) to the Air Force Thunderbirds flying overhead – you will not want to miss the pre-race festivities! The race begins at 12:45 pm.
And the winner is…MILK
Most everyone knows that the winner of the Indy 500 gulps down a cold glass of milk in Victory Lane after the race. I had to know how and when this started. Dating back to 1936, we can thank Louis Meyer for this tradition. His mother had always encouraged him to drink buttermilk on hot days, so naturally, he asked for one to celebrate his victory. As the years continued and milk companies began sponsoring the race, they also wanted the winner to drink milk to promote their companies. For years this continued, until in 1993, Emerson Fittipaldi drank ORANGE JUICE instead of a glass of milk. He quickly found out this was not ok with race fans. He may even have been booed during a driver's celebration… just drink the milk drivers, just drink the milk.
I can’t wait to get out all my checkered flags this weekend and watch the greatest spectacle in racing. What are your favorite race weekend traditions?
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+ Holly Stauffer