No Balloons, Bare Bones Schedule for Carb Day and Race Day

One of the major signals that the Indianapolis 500 is about to begin is the balloon release at the end of the singing “(Back Home Again in) Indiana.” As the final notes of the song gradually fade, thousands of multi- colored balloons fill the the sky above the pagoda and float to parts unknown. It is a beautiful site. But for the second year in a row, it will not take place as the Speedway wants to limit the infield to race essential personnel. I get that. The bigger question is, will the balloons ever come back?

There is pressure from environmental groups to stop the balloon release altogether, and the speedway says it is looking into the matter. No matter their decision, someone will be unhappy.

Traditions used to die hard at IMS, but lately it seems that it has become easy to discard some long standing practices. Has the COVId-19 pandemic changed things forever? I think it may have. I could live without the balloon release, although it is one of my favorite parts of the pre-race ceremonies. Perhaps a virtual release shown on the video boards will have to do. We should have an answer to the future of the balloons by this time next year. Meanwhile the fate of this part of 500 tradition is up in the air.

Carb Day: Come In, Watch Cars, Leave

The schedule for Carb Day is simple. Gates are open from 8 am-2 pm. cars are on track from 11-1. There are no other Carb Day activities. I hope for 2022 we can get back to our regular Race Week schedule. It appears the same stands that were open for qualifying will be open tomorrow. I will post the details tomorrow morning.

Race Day: Shortened Pre Race

The race day morning schedule also shows a minimum of activity before the cars fire up to start the race. The program looks like just the bare essentials- National Anthem, invocation, “Taps” “Indiana,”and the command.

I am fine with this I have felt that the pre-race ceremonies have become overly long and drawn out for the last few years, and need to be more condensed. I am not saying to cut any of the elements, except maybe a couple of songs, but as the extended length of the ceremonies really dulls the tense build up to the start of the race.

2022 cannot get here soon enough. Full carb day details tomorrow, and possibly another post later today.

3 thoughts on “No Balloons, Bare Bones Schedule for Carb Day and Race Day

  1. The balloon release…hmm, ok, if there is data to support the banning or eschewing of the tradition…ok. The other activities around race day morning…the past winners, military honor rides, marching bands…even if it is not “Your” thing it is to others…
    Are we forever changed by COVID-19? Clearly we are. Many are using this to redefine so much and not all for the better, IMO. The continual pushing of fear is getting very difficult to just sit back and take. If people are not vaccinated and do not feel safe at an OUTDOOR event…Please stay home for your health sake. Those of us that Chose to be vaccinated should NOT be forced to appease other’s fear. (I imagine I will get blasted for this…so be it!) Traditions matter and should not just be thrown away with the folly of the day. The Indianapolis 500 is what it is BECAUSE of Traditions… do things change…of course they do….but THIS. No this is some twisted view of reality. 40% capacity OUTDOORS yet the NBA playoffs are elbow to elbow, not just on the court, in the stands with no distancing and no masking…but we will sit outdoors, separated, and forced to wear masks by “Mask Ambassaors”. I fear that this may scuttle the traditions that so many of us hold dear in the Month of May, Back Home Again, at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway!


    1. I wasn’t saying to get rid of the ceremonial things which need to happen, I just feel each part could be condensed, not done away with. You make excellent points.


  2. (I attempted to edit a few typos…no dice…I also considered just removing the comment like a good little boy to avoid “confrontation”. I am unable to do so…maybe that is a sign that what I have said needs to be said and read? Many are Afraid to speak up out of fear. Real Fear of being ATTACKED digitally for holding opinions that do not conform to the Fear we have all been living with. Real or Not. Fair or Not. So, my words stand for what they are) đŸ™‚


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