Thanksgiving, of course, is a wonderful holiday. Family, food and football – not necessarily in that order - all take center stage.
To an Indianapolis 500 fan, however, Thanksgiving is especially important because it marks the halfway point (more or less) between the previous 500 and the next one. So go ahead and use your turkey drumsticks to make the crossed-flags signal to let everyone at the table know.
Still, the offseason still has a ways to go. Which makes it an ideal time to pull out your old yearbooks, DVDs or programs.
Here’s the program from my first Indianapolis 500 in 1973 – I ended up going on the third day of the ill-fated event.
The cover is a bit worse for wear. (Can’t you just hear Dr. Evil saying, “One MEEEELLION Dollars,” though?)
The inside is a bit battered as well – four pages are missing altogether.
That’s because in those days there was a spread showing the top 10 finishers from the year before. So I had my mother very patiently cut out all 10 cars so I could race them on my oval rug – no fancy diecasts back then.
As you can see, I also did my best to keep the entry list accurate and up to date. Not bad for a 5-year-old.
Unlike today, the entry list was overflowing.
I counted 83 entries for 1973. Of course, most of these were backup cars and others had no realistic hope of making the race. One – the Jim Robbins Co. No. 87 – was entered per Mr. Robbins’ will.
I eventually bought a complete 1973 program from the now-closed Mailroom on 16th Street.
The thought of throwing out the original never crossed my mind – and never will.