It’s Race Day At IMS!

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Good morning from a sunny and somewhat smoky Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The smoke is coming from the camping grounds in the Coke lot across from Turn Four. It has drifted over The Speedway and created sort of a blue haze. I’m hoping it goes away because it’s kind of hard to breathe. I come here wanting to smell ethanol and tires burning – not camp fires.

Fortunately, the smell of smoke was not the only thing that greeted us as we opened the car door once we parked inside the track. We were also greeted by the sounds of the Gordon Pipers. That assured us that it was going to be a great day today.

To me, Race Day at IMS means one thing and one thing only. It isn’t the Brickyard 400, nor the MotoGP or The Grand Prix of Indianapolis. It’s the Indianapolis 500. That’s the reason this track exists, and the reason there is a Verizion IndyCar Series. It is also the reason that generations of fans have made this a family tradition for over a century.

This is the eleventh straight year I’ve been joined by my wife Susan and her son Eric. I’m also joined this weekend by my oldest brother Jim and his family. My other brother Jack couldn’t make it this year, but he’ll be back. My two oldest brothers first cam here in 1964 when our father brought them. At age five, I was deemed too young to go that year. But I raised such a stink, that the next year – my mother and I were included. I’ll never forget that 1965 race. My driver, Parnelli Jones, didn’t win but he finished second to Jim Clark. That race began a love affair between me and this track that has not waned in the past forty-nine years. It is the reason Susan and I chose to get married here in 2012.

The weather is a cool 55-degress, but the sun is already getting higher in the sky as I type. The sun had not fully risen when we parked, but there was already a feeling about the place. There is no buzz like Race Morning in May at IMS. It promises to be a beautiful day today. Sunny skies and a high of 81. It should provide a good setting for some memorable moments.

Speaking of memorable moments, it’s hard to think that this will be the last time we hear the magical voice of Jim Nabors reverberating throughout the stands. The singing of Back Home Again in Indiana is always my favorite moment of all the traditons here at The Speedway. When Jim Nabors sings it for the final time today, it’ll probably be tough to find a dry eye in the house. I just hope the younger attendees that don’t understand this moment will treat it with respect and not clown around during it. I want it to be a special memory.

Anyway, we’re going to go roam around a bit. But I’ll have something else up here before the race and Susan will have something here also. But make no mistake of the excitement around here today. It’s Race day at IMS.

George Phillips

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One Response to “It’s Race Day At IMS!”

  1. SkipinSC Says:

    It’s our “Christmas Morning,” George. Hope you both enjoy it as much as I know I will.

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