Note from Paul: In 1954, my father, David Dalbey, attended his first Indianapolis 500 with his father and aunt. Several years later, he started recording his experiences in detailed, handwritten journals. He has continued this practice all the way through the current year. Several of the earliest years were written many years later and may contain some errors in information. He was not a wordsmith, but nonetheless, I am pleased to present these journals in their original form without attempt to edit or correct any mistakes.
Memorial Day, May 30th, fell on Sunday. The race was held on Monday, May 31st. After Sunday dinner, Dad and I packed and left in our 1949 Plymouth. We went to 3rd and North Grand, went right to 5th and North Grand, turned left, went to 5th and Sangamon, turned right and we were on our way. We took US 36 all the way. We stopped at Hume for a drink of water, rest, etc. We stayed about 10 minutes. We got to Indianapolis at 5:00 (we left home about 1:00). We stayed at the corner of Crawfordsville and Fisher. The people whose lot we stayed in were named Kramer. It was about six blocks from the Speedway on Route 136. It cost us $1.00.
After eating our supper, which we had brought along, we took a walk down by the Speedway. Here, we saw a brand new Corvette automobile on display, saw Pop Myers’s home (Vice-president of the Speedway, who had died just two months earlier), the 16th Street midget races, the carnival, and all the other sights that make up the night before the 500. We got back to our car about 12:00. We only got about one and a half hours of sleep because of the trains going by across the street all night long. People came and went all night long.
The military bomb awakened us at 5:00 AM. At 5:30, we went down to the track and watched the cars go into the infield. After a few minutes, we went back and ate breakfast. We left for the track at 7:00. We got there about 7:30. We went in Gate no. 1. After we got in, I bought a program and then we walked around the infield and saw the crowd, garages, etc. We got to our seats about 9:30.
After the race, on our way back to the car, we stopped at a concession stand and had a Coke. We left for home about 4:00. We stopped at Chrisman and ate supper. This was the only stop, except in Decatur, where Dad had to get off the route twice because he was so involved in a mystery story on the radio. We got in Springfield about 8:30 and home about 8:45.
Pace Car — Dodge
Queen — Marie Wilson