Indy journal: 1963

Historic Indy 500 journals — By on June 15, 2008 10:00 am
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Record breaking performances by Parnelli Jones, the magnificent showing of the Lotus-Fords, the qualification of all three Novi-powered cars, the diversified starting field, and the oil controversy were highlights of the 1963 Indianapolis 500-mile auto race.

We received our tickets on May 8th, which is the latest we’ve ever received them. Dad ordered them at the same time as in previous years, about the middle of February, but this was the first year we didn’t get the tickets until May. In other years, it was either March or April. When the tickets hadn’t arrived by Friday, May 3rd, Dad decided to call the Speedway and see what had happened. One of the ladies in the Speedway ticket office talked to him and told him that the tickets were late arriving from the printers. In addition to this delay, our tickets were in the section that was being mailed out last. The lady told Dad that if we hadn’t received our tickets within a week to call back again, but that proved unnecessary.

Once again, like last year, I came home from George Air Force Base in California to see the big Memorial Day Classic. I arrived home on Saturday, May 25th.

On Wednesday morning, May 29th, we did all of our packing. As usual, it looked as if we were going to stay for a week instead of a day. We packed blankets, pillows, jackets, caps, field glasses, camera, film, sunglasses, medicine pills, and raincoats. In addition to these articles, we took cooking utensils and food. The food included hamburgers, hamburger buns, mustard, ketchup, bananas, fruit salad, apples, cup cakes, potato chips, deviled eggs, pears, eggs, bacon, coffee, milk and water, plus a few other items I may have forgotten. Our utensils included knives, forks, spoons, plates, glasses, napkins, plus liquid soap and a washrag for washing the dishes. The most outstanding utensil was a new cookout stove we had bought since last May 30th. It came in handy and worked real well. We cooked our baked beans, eggs, and bacon on it.

About 12:00, after we had eaten dinner, we started putting our equipment in our 1957 Chevrolet. The equipment pretty well filled the trunk and about half of the back seat. All three of us checked and rechecked everything two or three times before we left. At the last minute, I discovered that I didn’t have my traditional old paint shoes on, so I rushed up to my room and made a quick change. With that important job done, we were ready to go. With Bobby in the right rear seat, Dad in the right front, and me in the driver’s seat, I turned the ignition on, we waved goodbye to Mother and Susie, and at 12:29, we started on our annual trip to the Indiana capital.

We went to 3rd Street and North Grand, turned right onto North Grand and went to 5th Street, turned left onto 5th Street and went north to Sangamon Avenue, turned right onto Sangamon and west east out of town. After we crossed the Route 66 bypass, we went over the new Interstate Route 55 for the first time.

We arrived in Decatur about 1:15. The city seemed about the same as every other May 29th afternoon that we had seen it. At 1:30, we went over Lake Decatur and were on our way out of the city. We had gone through the first and only big city on our way. We traveled east on Route 36, and at 2:30, we arrived at our familiar stopping place, Chrisman.

A surprise was waiting for us. Our traditional resting place was no longer there. It had been torn down and only a vacant lot was there now. Last year, it was closed but not torn down. We stopped at the coffee shop across the road from the former one. It was 2:33 when we stopped. The shop left a lot to be desired as far as cleanliness is concerned. The first thing we did before we went inside was use the restrooms. I always feel better after that. I had a cup of coffee, Dad had a chocolate milkshake, and Bobby had two dips of vanilla ice cream with strawberries on them. She couldn’t eat all of it, so I ate what she couldn’t eat. Because of my coffee, I had to use the restroom again before we left.

At 2:56, we were on our way again. In 10-15 minutes, we were in Indiana. The long straight road I had become accustomed to in Illinois now came to an end, and from now on, it would be mostly curves and hills. We saw the same things we had seen for the past nine May 29ths, but I never tire of seeing them again. The many small towns we go through are just like the small towns around Springfield. I was unlucky and got behind a driver who had nowhere to go and all day to get there. To further add to my trouble, there was an almost endless yellow line on the highway. The line behind me continued to get longer and longer. Finally, the highway became two lanes in each direction. He was nice enough to move over to the right hand lane. I released some of my frustration onto the accelerator, and in a short while, we had left our source of frustration far behind. For a while, I drove 70-75 mph to make up some of the time I had lost. When I felt I had made up the time, I slowed down a little. The traffic began getting heavier, so we knew our time was getting short.

As we were nearing Indianapolis, we encountered something new. We came upon a sign that said “SPEEDWAY” and had an arrow pointing to the right. We were taken by surprise and didn’t know what to do. Should we stay on the regular road as we always had done or should we take the new road? At the last second, we decided to take the new road. All three of us were apprehensive as to where we were going. The road curved to the right for a distance and then straightened out. We were going north. Pretty soon, we saw another sign and it said “SPEEDWAY” with an arrow pointing to the right, so we turned. It curved to the right and then straightened out, and then we came to our first light on the new highway. There was a big overhead sign that said Crawfordsville with the arrow pointing straight ahead. We thought it probably meant Crawfordsville Road, but we weren’t sure. We were going south now. I was beginning to wish we had taken Route 36 all the way in. None of us knew for sure what we were doing, but we kept going anyway.

A few minutes later, Dad’s and my faces lit up with joy as we recognized a familiar landmark. The two of us discovered the famous, tall, black smoke chimney located across the street from the south end of the Speedway. Now we knew we were on Crawfordsville Road and Lynhurst Drive, our regular turning-off place, and pretty soon we came to Fisher Street. We turned left and stopped at the house on our left. Our worry and apprehensions were over. The new road had led us right to the front yard of our “home.” From the time we turned off Route 36, we felt uneasy as to where we would land up, but in the end, worry and apprehension turned to jubilation as the new highway had led us to the exact place we wanted to go to. I stopped on Fisher Street and backed the car into the yard and turned the engine off. The time lost behind the slow driver had been made up, the new highway had been conquered, and now we were safe and sound at our temporary home. It had taken us four hours and five minutes to complete the trip. It was now 4:34 pm.

We got out and walked around the yard a little bit. A minute or so later, Mrs. Kramer came out and welcomed us for the ninth time to their home. Dad paid her the $2.00 fee, and then the four of us talked for a few minutes. She said her husband wasn’t home now but would be a few hours later after he got off work. While we were talking, Mrs. Kramer received another customer, so we had to say goodbye.

Bobby asked Dad and me if we wanted to eat supper now, but we decided we didn’t want to. We decided instead to take our first walk down by the Speedway. We saw the usual things we always see — the long lines of cars beginning to form, the five o’clock rush traffic, vendors selling their wares, and all the other events traditional with the 500-mile race. When we reached the Speedway, we decided to tour the Speedway Museum. As usual, the place was crowded with people both looking at the race cars and trying to buy tickets. We walked down one aisle and up the other, looking at all the many race cars on display. We had seen most of them before, but we always enjoy seeing them again. In the middle of the aisle, there are pictures of the winner of every race. After touring the museum, we decided it was suppertime. As we were leaving the museum grounds, we bought our first newspaper from a paperboy. While walking back to the car, we noticed that both the cars and the people were becoming more numerous.

We were curious to see how our new outdoor oven would work, so we got it out and cooked hamburgers and baked beans on it. Dad got the fire started, and then Bobby put a couple of hamburgers on one side and the baked beans on the other side. When we tasted our cooked items, they tasted just like they do when cooked at home.

As mentioned earlier in this story, there was no shortage of food. About the only thing we didn’t eat was some of the eggs and bacon. It was quite different from eating at a table with a roof over our heads, but we had a lot of fun. I like to sit and watch all the cars and people going by as we’re eating.

When we decided we had had enough to eat, we cleaned up our mess. Bobby had brought some liquid soap and a washrag, so now she had her chance to use them. While she was washing the plates, silverware, and cups, Dad and I put some of the food away. We couldn’t do too much because Bobby had everything arranged a certain way and we weren’t sure just what that way was. Bobby finished what we couldn’t do. All three of us thought it was a good meal.

When we had all of our food put away, we sat in the car and read the newspapers we had bought. As always, the Indianapolis newspapers were full of information on the big race. It made for interesting reading because there was a lot we didn’t know. I came across one article and called it to Bobby’s attention. It said that Internal Revenue Service agents would be at and around the Speedway to keep an eye on the scalpers.

It was beginning to get dark now, so we decided to take a walk down by the Speedway to see what was going on. The area was becoming more and more infested with the 500-mile race spirit. Most of the ditches on the sides of Crawfordsville Road were filled with cars. Most of the people were taking life easy and having a good time doing it. Some were eating supper while others slept, played cards, drank beer, listened to the radio, and found other ways of entertaining themselves.

When we arrived at the intersection of Crawfordsville Road, 16th Street, and Georgetown Road, we decided to go east on 16th Street. There was no shortage of vending stands and vendors. I’m sure some of the items being sold were junk, but the people were buying them anyway. The religious radicals made their annual appearance and handed out their handbills, about 100% of which went straight to the ground and stayed there. As usual, there were the high school and college youngsters pushing and running their way through the crowd. Most of them were drinking beer, and their talk showed it. The quiet person is out of place here. There was a plentiful supply of firecrackers this year, and every few minutes one would explode.

When we reached the southeast corner of the Speedway, we came upon the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway Motel. It was on the other side of the street, but we could tell that it was really a fancy motel. In addition to the motel itself, there was a restaurant as part of the motel. Business seemed to be real good.

After viewing the motel and all the crazy people, we started walking back. Although I’d seen this same scene for the last nine years, I still couldn’t keep from laughing at everything that was going on. The traffic, which consisted largely of sightseers, was almost bumper to bumper and going nowhere fast. Open convertibles full of young people having a joyful time were plentiful. The sound of empty beer cans being kicked around abounded everywhere. On the Speedway side of the street, the lines of cars extended back eastward indefinitely. In addition to being high, the drunks used some language that most people wouldn’t consider normal. One vendor along the street was demonstrating how to operate some household item, and his audience extended back into the street. Pretty soon, we came to the First Aid Station located across the street from the main entrance to the Speedway on 16th Street. When we went by, there were no casualties being worked on.

Our first stop was the usual one at the corner drugstore. The store was overflowing with customers, and all the employees were busy trying to keep up with things. I bought a couple of newspapers. We looked around the store for a few minutes and then left.

We continued on down Main Street. A couple of doors south from the drugstore, we were attracted by a window display. Several people were looking at something in the window, so we decided to see what it was. A television set had been installed in the window and it was in operation. A discussion program was in progress. Among those on the program were Freddy Agabashian, Al Dean, Dan Blocker, Jose Jeminey, and three or four other people who were connected with this year’s race. Naturally, the topic of conversation was tomorrow’s race. It was an interesting program, and we watched most of it. Then we walked on down Main Street a little farther.

Like every other year, there were four lanes of traffic on Main Street extending southward farther than the eye could see. Just like on Crawfordsville Road and 16th Street, the people on Main Street were having their street parties. Beer was being consumed by the caseload. There was no shortage of singing. The drunkards didn’t confine themselves to the street area. They were staggering all over the sidewalks, too.

When we had gone a couple of blocks, we decided to turn around and go back. We stopped at the television set again. This time, another racing program was on. It was a film of that afternoon’s drivers’ meeting in front of the tower. It showed all the drivers in their respective starting positions, plus the race officials giving the drivers their final instructions before the race. The officials included Harlem Fengler, Sam Hanks, Tony Hulman, Paul Johnson, and a few others. When the drivers’ meeting was concluded, the program changed, so we continued on down to the intersection of Main and 16th Street.

It was after 11:00 now, and Dad and Bobby decided they had seen all they wanted to see, so they went back to the car. I walked west on 16th Street. The high school and college kids were having some of the best times of their lives. Beer drinking and loud talking were the favorite pastimes of the young crowds. Most of the girls were as bad as the boys. Many of them were sitting on tops of cars. Some had set up chairs and tables in the street and were playing cards. There was both live and radio music.

Pretty soon, a couple of girls in short shorts came walking down the street. About a half dozen boys started to follow them making some improper remarks. The girls tried to ignore them, but before long, the boys had encircled them and the girls’ forward progress was stopped. The girls tried to get out of the circle, but the boys became adamant and moved in closer, much to the disgust of the girls. The girls began fighting back. Fearful that something serious might break out, I continued walking slowly down the street. Judging from the way they were being treated, I think the girls should have done something to get the attention of a law enforcement officer.

I continued on down the street and took in some more sights. The many blocks filled with cars extended farther back than I could see. At the end of four blocks, I crossed the street and walked back toward the Speedway. Most of the people who lived in the houses along the street were taking in all the merriment. Many of the yards by the street curbing were littered with beer cans and bottles thrown by some of the intoxicated party-goers.

When I got to Main Street, I decided to go back and see everything again. In my mind, I was thinking I only get to see this show once a year, so I’d better see as much as I can. Every once in a while, I would stop for a minute or so and just look around me to see what was going on. Although I was by myself, I couldn’t refrain from laughing aloud at some of the activity that was taking place. Some of the residents were in the same situation. I walked three blocks and crossed over to the other side of the street and started walking east again. Many of the people walking down the street were giving the revelers quizzical looks.

A couple blocks later, I came upon the girls in the short shorts. By now, the boys had them in one of the front yards halfway between the sidewalk and the house. The girls were quite angry and were showing it. They were using physical force to try to free themselves and they were also using audible profanity. Apparently, the boys couldn’t understand what the girls were telling them because they were drunk, or else they chose to ignore the girls’ wishes. It didn’t look good. I kept a close watch on what was happening, but at the same time I maintained a safe distance to stay out of trouble in case a fight broke out.

I kept walking, real slowly, and at the same time kept an eye on what was going on behind me. When I reached Main Street, I crossed over to the other side of the street and continued walking east. In between streaking people and cars, I managed to cross the dangerous intersection of Crawfordsville Road, 16th Street, and Georgetown Road without getting hit.

When my heart started beating normally again, I walked north on Georgetown Road. In a couple minutes it was 12:00 midnight, so now it could honestly be said that it was Memorial Day at Indianapolis. It seemed as if I was stepping on or kicking a beer can with every other step I took. The traffic was bumper to bumper, and it moved in spurts. Squealing tires and noisy horns were common sounds. The drunks were alternating between the road and the yards. Walking was difficult because I had to watch out for both people and cars. If you didn’t get out of the way of some people, you might find yourself on the ground. After what seemed an eternity, I finally came to Gate 6, which is located approximately at the starting line and is where many of the cars go underground to get to the infield. I could plainly see the stream of light being emitted by the huge spotlight inside the Speedway. There was also quite a bit of light coming from the garage area. I observed the lights, cars, and people from this spot and then started the long walk back.

As was true of 16th Street and Main Street, there were plenty of young people having a frolicsome time. Every once in a while, a carload of girls would drive by and receive aggressive attention of a group of boys walking by, especially if they were in a convertible. The boys’ efforts were in vain, however, as most of the girls continued on their way and paid little attention to the boys, other than to curb their aggressiveness. A couple of fellows, well into the state of intoxication, offered me a beer as I walked by them, but I ignored them and laughed to myself. At long last, I arrived at the three-way intersection. It was between 12:30 and 1:00, but the place was really jumping. It was unmistakably the night before the 500.

I turned right and headed down Crawfordsville Road. The shoulder of the road was lined with parked cars. Many of them had newspapers or blankets covering the windows to keep the light out. Others were sitting between cars and cooking and eating food. I don’t know whether they called it a midnight snack or a real early breakfast. Some of the food smelled really good. Of course, there were others who didn’t partake of such a sedate life. They were the ones who were singing, dancing, laughing, drinking, and in general having a merry time. Every once in a while, I came across a car parked on the side of the road that didn’t have newspapers or blankets over the windows. Inside some of the cars were young couples engaging in some of the more pleasant activities of life.

It was 1:00 when I got to the car. Now came the problem of getting into the car and closing the door without waking Bobby. I opened the door, slid across the front seat, took off my shoes, and started to lie down when I heard somebody say, “Is that you?” I said, “Yes, I didn’t mean to wake you.” She wasn’t angry, so we talked for a few minutes. Dad was sleeping on the cot on the right side of the car. I took my shirt off, locked my wallet in the glove compartment, hung my watch on the gearshift, lay down, pulled the blanket over me, and attempted to sleep. It was now 1:15 AM.

At 4:45, I awoke. Actually, I hadn’t slept the entire three and a half hours. I had tossed and turned because of my cramped condition for quite a while before I went to sleep. I sat up and saw Dad and Bobby were still asleep, so I lay down again. I started to read a newspaper, but it crinkled and I thought it might wake Bobby up, so I put it down. The noise around us hadn’t abated any since 1:15. There was just as much now as there was then.

At 5:00, I heard a big BOOM. Of course, it could be nothing else but the traditional opening bomb down at the Speedway. The Speedway had officially opened. The bomb, in addition to its normal function, woke up Bobby and Dad. Bobby opened her eyes, and Dad opened his and sat up on his cot. As usual, the line of cars on Crawfordsville Road extended for some blocks past us, and there was the halfwit who started honking his horn almost at the same time the bomb went off. I’m sure the policeman heard him and started moving the traffic so that he could hurry and get into the infield. The three of us just sat for a few minutes until we had woken up a little.

Pretty soon I got out of the car, stretched my arms and legs, and then walked over to the highway to see what was going on. Some of the passengers in the parked cars were still sleeping, but most of the drivers were awake and ready to move ahead, although it would be a little while yet before they did so.

When I got back to the car, Bobby asked Dad and me if we wanted to eat breakfast now or wait until later. We decided to wait until later. It was time now to make our yearly trip down to Gate 6 at the Speedway to watch the cars as they went under the viaduct and into the infield.

When we started our walk about 5:30, there were already some people on their way to the Speedway. When we arrived at the Standard Service Station on Crawfordsville Road, we stopped for a while. Bobby used the restroom while Dad and I had some coffee. The service station was doing a good business with its coffee and doughnut business. At this time of the day, they really tasted good. Bobby, along with the other women in the line with her, had the misfortune of getting behind a couple young women who used the restroom much longer than they should have. Their stupid scheme didn’t go over so well with the three of us or any of the other women waiting in line. To pass the extra time away, Dad and I had a second cup of coffee. When Bobby finished using the restroom, we resumed our walk to the Speedway.

We could tell by looking at many of the people that they had just awakened. Many others, of course, were still sleeping. Despite the early hour, there was plenty of active life everywhere. Radios were blaring, cars were going by, policemen were blowing their whistles, etc. When we reached Georgetown Road, we turned left and walked the long distance to Gate 6. The hot dog and hamburger concession stands were doing a good early morning business. The sound of beer cans being stepped on and kicked around was a common one. For the most part, the two lanes of traffic moved in spurts, and the pedestrians had to be careful not to get in front of a car when it started moving. We walked over the famous bridge located near our destination, and a minute or so later, we were at Gate 6.

I stood on my toes and could see the words ALLEN CROWE printed on the pit wall. I noticed that the Indiana State Policeman who were directing the traffic were the same ones who had been doing it for the past few years. The cars came by the dozens, and there seemed to be no end to them. Of course, they were coming from three streets — Crawfordsville Road, 16th Street, and Main Street — so naturally there were quite a few cars. The policemen did a real good job of keeping the traffic moving right along. Some of the people had bought their $3 general admission tickets back farther in the line, but others waited until they got to the gate and purchased theirs from one of the Speedway patrol men on duty. The cars were of every make and year. Some of them contained so many people that they were almost dragging on the ground, while a few had only one passenger. Something new I noticed while watching the cars was the large increase in the numbers of women going into the infield. In past years, there didn’t seem to be this many women. There were several cars that had two, three, and four women in them and no men. What was the attraction? Some of the people who were standing up in open convertibles and those with their heads stuck out windows had to be told to sit in a normal position while going underground and into the infield. Most people probably wouldn’t get any enjoyment from watching everyday cars go under a viaduct, but to the three of us, it is part of the 500-mile race scene and we enjoy seeing the cars and their passengers. After watching the cars for quite a while, one wonders if there was an end to the two lines.

About 7:00, we decided it wasn’t getting any earlier and we still had breakfast to eat, so we started the long walk back to the car. It was a little safer walking back because we were facing the traffic and could see just what the cars were doing. All the concessionaires were trying to induce the passers-by to buy their products. As we walked, we noticed that the traffic was still bumper-to-bumper. When we reached 16th Street, it was still the same way. We turned right onto Crawfordsville Road and went back to the car.

When we came to the Standard Service Station, I decided to stop and use the restroom. This turned out to be the most frustrating event of the whole trip. I gave Dad the keys to the car so that he and Bobby could get breakfast ready. I had planned to stay just a few minutes. When I got inside the station, I saw there were already a dozen or so other men waiting in line. I gave the attendant my quarter and took my place at the end of the line. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a slower moving line. The longer I stood, the more impatient I became. I thought about leaving, but I had to use the place too bad to do that. When I got close to the front of the line, I thought to myself that Dad and Bobby probably had already cooked and eaten breakfast and mine was back there getting cold. Most of the men standing in line with me were just as impatient as I was. At long last, I got my chance to make myself feel better. When I got out, it was about 8:15. It had taken 30-45 minutes to do something that normally takes about five minutes. I was still burned up, but wasted no time in getting back to the car.

Surprisingly, neither Dad nor Bobby was angry at me for having taken so long. Bobby knew well what I’d been through because she had been through the same thing as we were walking to see all the incoming cars. Happily, Bobby had not cooked any eggs or bacon for me. Apparently, she knew I’d be at the filling station for quite some time. I told them I was sorry for being so late, and they understood fully and told me to sit down and have something to eat. Bobby cooked the eggs and bacon on the outdoor oven while Dad and I searched the basket for some other food. I also had some potato chips and pears. I was rather hungry, so the eggs and bacon tasted good. I ate my breakfast, and then we listened to the radio, read our newspapers, and observed all the activity going on around us.

While I was eating, Bobby started washing the plates, cups, and silverware, and Dad put the food back into the food basket and then started putting everything into the car. When I finished eating, I pitched in and helped Dad. As was true the previous night, when we ate supper, Dad and I weren’t sure just where and how everything went, so instead of getting everything too messed up, we let Bobby arrange everything as she wanted. Because I had fouled up the works by taking so much time at the service station, we had to hurry a little bit.

When Bobby finished all of the work, we put everything into the car and then gathered up everything we had to take with us to the race. These items included camera, film, sunglasses, caps, field glasses, Bobby’s sweater, car keys, and the most important item of all — the tickets. We checked to see that we had everything, locked the car, and started on our way to the Speedway. It was after 8:30, so we were behind our usual schedule. The pedestrian traffic was really heavy now. About halfway to the Speedway, we ran into something we run into every year — members of the VFW selling the little red, white, and blue tags. The three of us each gave a donation of a quarter, got our tags, and continued on our way. When we arrived at the main gate, Gate 1, the pedestrian gate, we had to work our way through an enormous mob of people before we got to the ticket-takers. We gave our tickets to the gateman, he tore off the first stub and gave them back to us, and we walked into the Speedway grounds.

As usual, I stopped at the first vendor I saw selling Speedway souvenir programs and bought one. Dad and Bobby bought one for themselves, too. Because the traffic was so heavy, we couldn’t make much time in getting into the infield. As we crept along, we took in the array of people and concession stands. There were concession stands selling racing magazines, post cards, hats, caps, sweaters, and many other items. The food concession stands were selling hot dogs, hamburgers, barbeques, soft drinks, etc., but no beer. There is enough beer brought into the grounds from outside without any having to be sold inside.

By the time we arrived within a short distance of the entrance to the tunnel that goes under the track and up to the infield, the crowd was so large that we were squeezed in with everybody else so tight that we couldn’t even raise our arms. Normally, we arrive ahead of this heavy crowd, but my long stay at the filling station had delayed us quite a while. This is the first time I remember running into such a big crowd at this particular time. At this point, I can’t say for sure whether we were walking or being shoved to the tunnel entrance. When we got there, we walked down the walk, then straight for a while, then up the walk. It wasn’t quite as crowded walking through the tunnel. I could at least swing my arms back and forth a little bit. Now that we were in the open, we could move and breathe quite a bit better.

We turned right and walked down to Gasoline Alley. Dad and I both agreed that this seemed to be the biggest crowd we had ever seen here. Dad decided he had to use the men’s room and I decided I could use it, so in we went while Bobby waited outside. With that important job done, the three of us walked down to the passageway that leads from the garage area to the pit area. A sign hangs overhead with the words GASOLINE ALLEY printed on it. It was past 8:30, so all the cars were already in their respective pits. We thought we might see some famous people, but the huge crowd killed that plan. After stretching our necks for a couple minutes, we gave up and decided to go to our seats.

We turned around and walked back until we came to the steps that take you to the northern half of the infield. From there, we found the entrance to Section 41 of Tower Terrace and went there. The ticket-taker tore off a stub, and we went in. We turned left and started our sightseeing of all the pits that we could see. We looked at the cars, the crews going over all the last-minute details, the layers of tires, the water fountains, the oxygen tanks, the gasoline tanks, and all the other equipment so necessary for the running of this big race. Most of the hoods of the cars were up, and the mechanics were looking the engines over closely. As we approached each car, we checked its number in the souvenir programs to see who the driver was. When we reached the Gasoline Alley entrance, the fence kept us from proceeding any farther, so we turned around and walked back.

All the time we had been looking at the cars, the traditional high school and Purdue University bands were marching up and down the main straightaway. The bands were putting on a terrific show, and the crowd showed its appreciation by its applause. The men of the enormous crowd were particularly happy with the sight and movements of the Purdue University majorettes and the golden girl.

When we reached Section 41, we went a few steps, and then an usher led us up to Row P. We turned right and walked until we came to seats 14, 15, and 16. We put our paraphernalia under our seats and then sat down. From our seats, we could see the pits of Troy Ruttman, Ebb Rose, Bob Veith, Eddie Johnson, Chuck Stevenson, and Allen Crowe. The PA an