There were just two bits of track action to wrap up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today before the pre-race party could really get underway. First was Carb Day running for the main field, a last chance to fettle the cars for the race, and then the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race.
After that, well, for most fans it was time to crack open the beers, get over to the ZZ top concert and get a little bit rowdy, safe in the knowledge that there’s an opportunity to sleep it off tomorrow, ahead of the big race. No question, the Indy 500 is as much if not more rock festival than race to most people here.
Joining the Fazzt race team, I got to follow the fortunes of drivers Alex Tagliani and Bruno Junqueira. After Tagliani’s star turn in qualifying, it was Junqueira’s chance to shine today, the Brazilian (who may be better known to European race fans as the man Jenson Button pipped to a Williams F1 drive) setting a top five practice time despite previously having hardly any running time thanks to an incredibly tight budget.
My vantage point was pretty special, high up on top of the turn three grandstand with team spotters Alex Magy and Jim Cooke. Their job is to watch over half the track and act as their driver’s eyes, warning them of any hazards and letting them know either if someone is trying to pass, or when to pull down after a pass. You may wonder why the drivers can’t do this themselves, but at 220mph in a high-sided single-seater there’s a lot that they simply can’t see.