Carb Day strategy
By Jack Arute, Special to ABC Sports Online INDIANAPOLIS -- Today is what they call Carburetion Day at the Speedway. It's the last chance for 35 drivers and cars to sheik their cars down before the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday (ABC, 11 a.m. ET).
Rookie Juan Montoya and 34 other drivers will be fine-tuning their rides on Thursday.
You notice I say 35 instead of 33 cars. This is because two alternates are also allowed to practice today. There have been times in the past when an alternate has found himself starting in the Indy 500. In the '80s, Dennis Firestone trashed his only car on Carb Day, and could not repair it. Lo and behold, Dick Simon, the race's first alternate, got to start that Sunday.
What do teams want to accomplish today? First and foremost, they want to make sure that the car has been reassembled properly after the time trials. They'll also be checking for leaks, and will pay close attention to the electronics. For some teams, that's all that will go down. After the necessary checks are made, it'll be back to the barn until Sunday.
For teams that fought their way into the 500 late on Sunday, Carb Day is also an opportunity to check their race set-up. You'll see some teams taking a few laps. Others will take several.
Once the checkered flag falls, the track goes silent until Sunday morning. It'll be a long wait until they hear the command, "Gentlemen, start your engines."
Jack Arute mans the pits for ABC Sports' auto racing coverage. He has been contributing daily reports from the Speedway leading up to the Indy 500.