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Carb Day – May 26, 2023

Carb Day is observed on the last Friday before the Indy 500 and this year it will be held on May 26. Its name comes from the word “carburetion.” This day boasts the biggest automobile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in which the final practice session takes place before the race itself. This is where teams tune their carburetors or chassis to make sure the cars are fit for the race. Although no carburetors have been used by qualified cars since 1963, the name has stuck. Carb Day is now synonymous with parties and it is a huge celebration before each race in which concerts feature many popular performers.

History of Carb Day

“Carburetion Day” has enjoyed immense popularity as “Carb Day” since 2000. Along with the final practice session, the day also hosts a pit stop contest, a support race, and a concert. Before the mid-1950s, Carb Day was closed to the public. Now it forms an integral part of the month-long run-up to the Indy 500. Carb Day was never set on a fixed date, but in 1969, it was held on the Wednesday before the race. Then it was moved to the Thursday before race day. Currently, Carb Day falls on the Friday before the race itself.

The Pit Stop Challenge and the Indy Lights Freedom 100 are held during the activities leading up to the Indianapolis 500. The Pit Stop Challenge debuted in 1977. This is one of the cornerstone events at Carb Day offering a chance for pit stop crew members to shine. Although it is basically a fun event, it is taken very seriously by the crews. The Indy Lights Freedom 100 automobile race is the support race for the main event. The first race was held only once in 1979 and was not on Carb Day.

The race was officially added to the event calendar in 2003 and was held on the second weekend of the time trials. This date proved to be unpopular because attendance was low. In 2005, the Indy Lights Freedom 100 automobile race was moved to Carb Day. Concerts have been a major drawcard since the 1990s featuring live concerts. In 2005, the concerts were held right at the track itself instead of downtown. These Carb Day concerts typically feature rock singers and groups, among them, Rick Springfield, REO Speedwagon, and Styx.

Carb Day timeline

1963
The Last Use of Carburetors

The lotus cars of Jim Clark and Dan Gurney are the last to use carburetors.

1969
Carb Day Has a Fixed Schedule

Carb Day takes place on the Wednesday before the race.

1979
The USAC’s Mini-Indy Race

The U.S. Auto Club schedules a support race.

2002
The Indy Pro Series

The Indy Pro Series is added to the calendar of events.

Carb Day FAQs

Why is it called Carb Day?

Carb Day is so called as it gives car racers the chance to fine-tune their cars’ performance and allows them to drive around the track before the actual race day.

Why should winners drink milk?

The tradition dates back to 1933 when the winner, Louis Meyer, drank chilled buttermilk to celebrate his victory.

How fast can an Indy car run?

It can run as fast as 236mph.

Carb Day Activities

  1. Attend Carb Day

    Grab your tickets and attend Carb Day. Nothing beats personally witnessing cars racing and competing at the track.

  2. Host a Carb Day party

    Invite your friends and watch the Carb Day events together. While on the sidelines, laugh together and cheer your favorite teams on.

  3. Go racing

    Go go-cart racing with your friends. You may choose an electric go-cart track inside malls or an outdoor racing facility.

5 Facts About The Indy 500

  1. The speedway is a historic site

    The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which covers 253 acres, is a National Historic Landmark.

  2. The winner drinks milk

    The winner has to drink a pint of milk at the end of the race.

  3. The youngest winner was 22

    Troy Ruttman was the youngest winner in 1952.

  4. A celebrity drives the pace car

    The pace car, traditionally driven by a celebrity, leads the vehicles along the track at the beginning of the race.

  5. Cars are gassed up quickly

    The pit stops crews work fast taking only six seconds to fill a car with gas.

Why We Love Carb Day

  1. It showcases a big sporting event

    Thousands of people attend Carb Day and the days that follow the Indy 500. It’s one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

  2. It’s a day for intense excitement

    It’s a time for fast cars, races, and pit crews. We love the excitement that gives us an adrenaline rush.

  3. We love music and rock concerts

    Carb Day caters not only to racing enthusiasts and fans. It’s also a day for lovers of music and live concerts.

Carb Day dates

YearDateDay
2022May 27Friday
2023May 26Friday
2024May 24Friday
2025May 23Friday
2026May 22Friday

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