SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) – Bill and Lisa Stiffler hold Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in high regard.
“Today is the day that is, like, the most important day in the world to us, because this is the day you see all your friends of 30, 40 years. They’re here!” said Lisa Stiffler, of Madeira Beach, Florida.
The Stifflers have come to Carb Day for 46 years and in recent years all the way from Florida.
“It’s the cars. It’s this place,” Lisa explained to News 8. “This speedway is hallowed ground.”
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Both of them were born and raised in central Indiana and got the racing bug as young kids. It’s in their blood. Bill Stiffler said he started coming in 1974. Since then, it’s been like a family reunion.
“Then, you started growing up with the drivers. Then they had kids. Their kids started racing, like the Andrettis. OK. Then our friends have kids; then they started coming. So then it became a family event and became the basis of a family reunion,” Bill Stiffler said.
Bill and Lisa’s children jokingly know Carb Day is mom and dad’s day.
“Our kids knew they couldn’t be sick on Carb Day. They had to go to school, whether they were sick or not. I’d stick an Advil in their pocket and be like ‘Don’t let the teacher know!'” Lisa said.
Since fans could not be at the track for Carb Day in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Stifflers created their own Carb Day at their Florida home instead.
Their celebration included fake grandstands, die-cast cars and a fake track. They even played Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers music in the morning.
“It was a fun day, but it clearly wasn’t the same as being here,” Lisa said.
The couple said they’re cherishing every moment of being back this year.
“The excitement of race day: You’ll never feel anything like it. The energy from all the fans in the stands, the commitment that the drivers have to be excellent and to reach the pinnacle of sporting success, and that drive. You feel that in the air and it makes you want to come back. You want to be part of the story as much as they do,” Bill said.
The Stifflers told News 8 they plan to be at the track again in 2022.