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‘It’s gritty and it’s got soul’: Families gear up for 2023 Indy 500 on Carb Day

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For many people, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a lot more than just racing. It’s a chance to make new traditions.

On Friday, Carb Day, the atmosphere of the place was electric.

Leo Sparks, an Indianapolis resident, said, “It’s just the experience. It’s the Indy 500. Everything that embodies the 500. Just the ambiance.”

Celebrity chef Beau MacMillan said, “It’s gritty and it’s got soul when you come in and you see so many people coming together.”

At the center of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, race fans of all ages filled the Fan Midway.

The staffing supervisor of Riley Children’s Sports Legends Experience at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, Matt Presutti, said, “It’s huge. When people think of the Indy 500 and the track they don’t always think of kids first, and, luckily, when they come in to visit they see that this year especially they have something great for the children and parents to do together.”

Kids who aren’t yet big fans of the race drivers can compete with their parents at a small track in go-kart-like trikes.

There’s also a virtual reality experience that replicates the actual sensation of piloting a high-speed Navy special warfare combatant craft. Chief Bradley Dowden from the U.S. Navy said, “With so many families and so many people and being here with the Nimicks — which is a virtual simulator, a truck simulator that travels all over the nation to rodeos, high schools, state fairs — and to be able to have it here in Indiana for everyone to see is amazing.”

Visitors to the track can also go to tents to find their favorite Indianapolis 500 gear and fill up with all kinds of delicious foods. Chef MacMillan said that vendors are “showcasing their products and their drinks, and everything that comes together, and it’s really about the fans, too, that’s the other thing.”

MacMillan showed off his grilling skills at the Good Ranchers tent, where people experienced a live cooking demonstration. MacMillan says the speedway is a special place. “It’s my first time and then driving in obviously it’s like the mecca of sports racing. It’s got a feel to it.”

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