Yes, I know that this year’s Indy 500 is old news, but I thought you might enjoy a tour around the garage area that a friend of mine and I took on Carb Day, the Friday before the race.
It takes well over 5000 tires to meet the demands of race day and all the testing and qualifying that it requires. Firestone leases the tires to all of the teams and provides all the mounting and balancing.
Nitrogen is used to fill the tires and run the air powered tools that are used. Around the garage area most tools are now cordless.
There is a lot to getting the cars set up properly. The fluids are pre-heated:
That is what that tank with the blue hoses is all about.
Here you get a view of the Honda turbocharged engine:
And here they are gassing up with E85. That’s 85% ethanol and 25% gasoline. It doesn’t carry as much energy per volume as pure gasoline, so mileage is not as good, but it allows for more power. It is touted as producing less emissions, but it does have a bad habit of leaving a lot of post-combustion carbon.
Here are some shots of the only Lotus powered entry:
The rear springs and shocks are actuated by rocker arms:
They are a Penske product and quite expensive.
Back at the pits Chip Ganssi was being interviewed. He and Penske are the two top teams that run at Indy.
The cars would run on track for their last hour of testing prior to race day:
Some of the tools of the trade:
The above gun hangs on to the wheel nut when it is taken off and then lets go after it is tightened in place.
This is the fuel filler nozzle with a built-in vent hose. The cars can be re-filled during the race as well as get fresh wheels and tires put on, but the amount of fuel in the fill tanks is limited.
Here is Ed Carpenter getting his thoughts in order prior to the start of the hour of track time.
When the cars finally got on track and did their laps it was loud. I mean LOUD. It was also stunning to watch as they built up speed. A few would pull in to the pits for a tire change or an adjustment to the setup and then out again to see how things changed. It was a great prelude to the actual race day.
So why didn’t I stick around for the Sunday race?
Because it becomes the world’s largest tailgate party. The crowd above is just a small gathering compared to race day. Most of these people never went to the stands to watch the cars. For them it is a chance to drink beer, eat junk food, and mingle. I would rather be at home watching on my TV than trying to find a restroom that wasn’t mobbed and paying a ton of money for a bad view of the track.