A Bowl of Indy Stew – Day 1, 1986
You know the trouble with diets? Temptation. It lurks around every corner: breaded tenderloins, White Castles, sundry cured meats. How can I get down to my “race weight” when temptation is whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Right now, for instance, I can smell a bowl of Indy stew simmering on the stove. Can you smell it? It’s the essence of suntan lotion, beer, and ethanol. Delicious. I can’t resist. I’ll start my diet tomorrow. Today I’m going to ladle up a heaping helping of Indy stew, circa 1986. Grab a spoon and dig in.
In the last installment of “A Bowl of Indy Stew,” our intrepid race-goers survived sneaking in the track the night before the 1986 race, setting up a canopy, and hosting a horde of yellow shirts who sheltered from the rain with us. But the day had not even started.
Race morning in 1986 dawned hot, humid, and rainy. Things did not look promising, but the crowd poured in anyway. The rest of our crew arrived and pulled the van in next to our canopy. Perfect. We had two spots next to the fence in Turn 2. We lived for this moment. When you went to the race with a general admission ticket, you couldn’t exhale until you got your vehicle in the gate and parked.
Surprisingly, some of our crew had been drinking the night before. I know, who would have thought that? Just after we got our van parked, someone walked behind the canopy and had a liquid laugh. You know, called the elephants, chundered, yacked, had a technicolor yawn, played the whale. Got the picture? Highly entertaining. As the vehicles pulled in behind us, they veered away from the guy with his hands on his knees. Being Good Samaritans, we waved people away. Moments later, all the spots behind us were filled except that one. Who would want to park there?
A short time later, two girls with a tent hiked up and started to set up camp directly over the spot. We told them not to set up there, but before we could tell them why they informed us they could take care of themselves, thank you. Well, live and let live. Exchanging knowing glances, we left them to their sullied campsite. They crawled in the tent and went to sleep. The heat and humidity that day were stifling. We glanced back at the tent and wondered what it smelled like inside that nylon oven as the day heated up. The girls slept on. When they woke up, we heard one of them loudly complain in what can only be described as an entitled whine, “Ew, what’s that smell?” A lone voice responded, “That’s puke, sweetheart!” They hopped out of their tent, accused us of complicity in their degradation, broke camp, and flounced away in a huff to a round of laughter and applause. Apparently, they were not amused. Obviously, we were.
It was a good start to an interesting day.
Want more? Just give me time to add a few more ingredients to the pot and let it simmer. Another bowl of Indy stew from 1986 will be coming up soon.
Good story, I can remember those days well. Nothing more dangerous than passing out in the sun in the infield and frying yourself to smithereens!.
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