Legends Day is no Longer Legendary

By Susan Phillips

Today is Legends Day at IMS. It seems like as soon as we got back home late Sunday night, it was time to climb back in the car to come back up to Indianapolis. We drove back up here Thursday night after George got off work, and had a flat tire before we even got out of Nashville. It was not a great start to our race weekend. Three weekends in a row was grueling before I had health problems and I was younger. Now it’s just too much, because I’m beat. I’m not sure I’m going to do three weekends in a row anymore.

This weekend is different than the other two. After being up here for the past two weekends when things are so much more relaxed; it’s hard to watch the swarms of people descend on IMS yesterday on Carb Day—not my favorite day of the month. I want to ask where these people have been all month, but I know most of them are more interested in the party than the racing.

What I always did enjoy was Legends Day—to some extent. After the wildness of Carb Day, the next morning at the track was always calm and subdued. George and his brothers always enjoyed watching the vintage race cars run. That wasn’t really my thing, but it was always a highlight to George’s month of May. The crowd that showed up for the old cars was always a well-behaved crowd, because they were true race fans. They weren’t there for the party; they were there to enjoy the cars.

Then they would hold the drivers meeting, immediately after the old cars. I always liked it, because you were seeing all the drivers at the same time. George always found the drivers meeting a giant bore. I always liked to see the drivers whisked away afterwards to get them to the downtown parade.

The parade is something I’ve always wanted to go to, but I know I’ll never get George to go. He says that’s for people who never get to see the drivers in-person. As much of a traditionalist as he claims to be, he always scoffs at parades and says their day has come and gone. While that may be true, I’d still like to go someday.

Instead, our Legends Day was always spent at the museum. George’s two brothers are both mechanical engineers. It’s grueling to go with them because they will squat down and marvel at each set of brakes that they see. Talk about a giant bore!

From there, we would go wander through the memorabilia show in the Pagoda Plaza. That was interesting the first time we did it, but it was generally the same stuff year after year.

By this time, it would be 4:00 Saturday afternoon, and another day at the track was becoming tiring and tiresome. This was also about the time the concert-goers were showing up, which George took as his cue to leave. He’s not much of a concert goer—especially on race weekend. My son and I went to the first Legends Day concert to see Jason Aldean, along with my son’s girlfriend at the time. George and his brothers went to Dawson’s. We were having a good time until some guy next to us bumped into me while I was dancing and said “Excuse me Grandma!” Suddenly, I was ready to go. I was able to coax George into going with me to see Blake Shelton at another Legends Day concert. He admitted that he really enjoyed it, but I think the fact that it was at the track added to it.

Legends Day is not very legendary anymore. They no longer run the old cars. The memorabilia show is now in Plainfield and the Legends Day concert is offsite. All that is left is an autograph session and then the drivers meeting. After spending full Saturdays at the track the day before the race, this Legends Day will be different for us.

We will meet George’s brothers and their bunch at Charlie Brown’s for breakfast. That will be a fairly long wait, but it’ll be good. Then we will head over to the track to visit the museum—as I said, not my favorite thing to do but I’m outvoted on that. After that, who knows? I’m sure going back to Dawson’s is likely. I enjoy Dawson’s, but I’d like to try something new every once in a while. But you know how that goes with Mr. Change is Bad.

At least we will probably get to bed earlier, because my least favorite thing of May happens tomorrow morning—getting up at 3:30 in the morning, to be there before the bomb goes off at 6:00. I get it, because the track gives out about three times as many media parking passes as there are spaces. By the time we get there around 6:00, the media lot is almost full. So, I get it—but that doesn’t mean I like it. But I think even if we had a guaranteed spot, George would still want to be there before the bomb goes off.

Other than the early hours, I’m looking forward to a fun day tomorrow, but I’m kind of bummed that Legends Day has been trimmed down to nothing. There’s nothing very legendary abut that.

6 Responses to “Legends Day is no Longer Legendary”

  1. Bruce Waine Says:

    Legends Day………… Community Day…………..
    …… Events of the past that encouraged people & famlies to become involved and feel involved with the positive nature of the INDY experience.


    What is the concert atmosphere connection to racing ……. ?

    Yes, indeed, change is badddddddddddddddd .

  2. Bruce B Says:

    I enjoyed your post on here! As seen through the eyes of a woman. I read it to my wife and chuckled. As much as George is into the month of May I can’t believe he won’t take you to the parade. But remember that would interfere with the 3 hour museum tour looking at brake discs and side pods at nauseum. Tell him if he doesn’t take you to the parade next year you will sign him up for the mini marathon and mayor’s breakfast! Hope you enjoy the race tomorrow Mrs Oilpressure. I gotta admit you’re a good sport.

  3. Bruce Waine Says:

    ‘Twas the Night Before Indy
    By Chris Sheridan

    Twas the night before Indy
    And all ’round the track
    Not an engine was purring
    Not even a cat.

    The race suits were hung
    By the helmets with care
    In hopes that St. Marmon
    Soon would be there.

    The drivers were resting
    All snug in their beds
    While visions of milk bottles
    Danced in their heads.

    The Dallaras sat silent
    Awaiting command
    While green, white and checkered flags
    Stood in their stand.

    When out on the bricks
    I heard such a clatter
    I headed down pit lane
    To see what’s the matter.

    In Gasoline Alley
    I saw such a sight.

    ’Twas the old Marmon Wasp
    Like a ghost in the night
    With it’s little old driver
    His hair turning grey
    I knew in a moment
    It must be St. Ray.

    Like Dan Gurney Eagles
    The other cars came.

    He whistled and shouted
    And called them by name
    Now Offy! Now Novi!
    Now Hall’s Chaparral!
    Lolas and Marches
    McLarens and all!

    To the top of the grid
    Along the pit wall
    Drive away! Drive away!
    Drive away all!

    And then on a microphone
    I heard in the night
    A golden-voiced angel
    Who brings such delight.

    The Ghost of Tom Carnegie
    With a smile on his face:
    “500 miles to all
    And to all a good race!”

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