It’s The Month Of May!
Welcome to the official beginning of the Month of May. OK, it actually started yesterday – but today is the first weekday. As of today, I will try to post every weekday in May through the race. Sometimes life or the day job may prevent that from happening, but that’s the plan. Not only do we kick off most everyone’s favorite month of the year, but Trackside goes to their nightly format starting tonight. Most importantly, tonight also marks the beginning of nightly episodes of The Talk of Gasoline with Donald Davidson. If you like the history of the Indianapolis 500, do yourself a favor and download the “1070 The Fan” app, so that you won’t miss a single episode.
Donald Davidson is a Speedway treasure and has been doing this show for forty-five years. I’ve heard no rumors and this is my own speculation; but with this being the season of the 100th running, I would not be surprised if Donald retired after this season. Catch him while you can. Whenever the time does come for Donald to hang up his microphone, there will be a huge void in my Month of May.
Sadly, there are those who scoff at us that celebrate the beginning of our favorite month. If you were on social media yesterday, you saw mostly posts from fans who were rejoicing that May is finally here and that the buildup will only intensify throughout the month. But interspersed were posts from a few curmudgeons calling us IMS zealots and ridiculing our joy since track activity was still twelve days away. Will they be any happier when the track opens? Probably not. It must be miserable to be those people. Everywhere they turn, they’re always there.
Lately, I’ve had my own celebration for the beginning of May. Today marks the beginning of Year Eight at Oilpressure.com. Seven years ago yesterday, I wrote the first of what is now 1,327 posts…and counting. If you had told me then that this would still be going after seven years, I would have laughed in your face. A little over a year ago, I told myself that I would do this up through the 100th running and then play it by ear. I now already know that I’ll go through the end of this season. All signs are currently pointing to me being right here next season too. At this time of year it’s easy. It’s the winter months that it’s hard to come up with something new and different. But I still enjoy it, so that’s all that really matters.
Anyway, this is about the Month of May and not me. I’ll also keep this post positive by not getting into the cancellation of the Boston race over the weekend. More on that tomorrow. With the calendar shifting, we get a bonus this year – an extra week. Last year’s race was run on May 24. This year’s will be run on the 29th. That’s four full weeks of May, before the actual race runs. A race as big as the 100th running, deserves an extra week of buildup.
Not only will I be posting every weekday here in May, but I’ll also have a new edition of the not-so-famous Oilpressure.com Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest, in a week or so. So brush up on your knowledge and get your books ready. It will not be easy.
As has been the case in the past, Susan and I are spending all three racing weekends at IMS this May. We will be there next Friday for the qualifying for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and of course, the race on Saturday. That’s a nice low-key start to the month. I still wish they would make Opening Day on Sunday like they did two years ago. I know it’s a hardship on the grounds crew to reconfigure the track, but it is sort of an empty feeling to have no track activity on Sunday, when we are still in town. Practice on the oval begins Monday May 16, when the majority of us are back at work.
But we’ll be back to IMS just a few days later for Fast Friday. Qualifying takes place on Saturday and Sunday is Pole Day ending at 3:00. Probably to no one’s surprise, I don’t like the new format. After a lifetime of having Pole Day on Saturday and going until 6:00, it’s hard to get used to the run for the pole being the last thing to take place in qualifying. Change is bad!
The one silver lining to this is that we get an earlier start on the way home. After typing out a post, we’ll be on the road by around 5:00 or 6:00 and gain an hour driving back to Nashville, so we’ll be home at a decent hour.
It’s a good thing, because my day job has me attending a conference in Atlanta most of the next week. I will get home Thursday night, just in time to repack and hit the road early the next morning for Carb Day. I might break tradition and actually put my life in my own hands to take in some of the Journey concert…but maybe not. We’ll see. But we will definitely be going to the Carb Night Burger Bash at its new downtown location.
Then Saturday morning, we’ll be at the track for Legend’s Day – a fairly new tradition that celebrates the past of the Indianapolis 500. Both of my brothers and their families will be in town by then. We love watching the old roadsters circle the track. There is no sound like an Offy. Susan is a huge fan of Blake Shelton, so we’ll be staying for the concert at 5:00 that evening. I hope it doesn’t go too late, because I want to get to bed early in order to be at the track at the crack of dawn on Sunday.
There is no excitement in the world like the early morning buzz on the morning of the Indianapolis 500. The place takes on a whole new vibe from the rest of the month. No matter how many times they’ve gone through the routine, everyone is on edge – from the drivers, the teams, the Yellow Shirts and of course – the fans. With this being the 100th running, it will probably be even more so this year.
Then, it’s the race itself. After the race, we’re usually still at the track until around 7:00. Then we’ll meet my brother(s) at Dawson’s on Main for our traditional post-race dinner there. Dawson’s is our go-to restaurant throughout the month. It’s reasonably priced, convenient to the track and our hotel, the food is great and you’re very likely to see key racing people in there all month. Some people we’ve seen in there over the last few years are Doug Boles, Al Unser, Jr., Simon Pagenaud, John Barnes, Sarah Fisher and Josef Newgarden. If you’ve never been, you owe it to yourself to go check it out.
After dinner, we’ll go crash at the hotel and watch the replay of the race. I’m not sure I’ve ever made it through to the end before falling asleep after such a long day. Monday morning, we’ll get up and make one last trip to the track, just…because. Then we’ll make one more last stop at two more of our favorite places – Long’s Donuts and The Mug-n-Bun. The tenderloin at the Mug-n-Bun is mediocre, but they make a mean Coney Dog and they make their own root beer, which is the best I’ve ever had anywhere – served in an icy frosted mug.
From there, we’ll head home. We always take the Tuesday after Memorial Day as a vacation day – not only to rest up, but to decompress and try fighting off the depression that creeps in with the realization that another Indianapolis 500 has come and gone.
But that’s almost a month away. In the meantime, let’s focus on what is immediately in front of us – the anticipation and the buildup that is the Month of May. It’s time to get it started.