(NEXSTAR) — One day and a massive celebration leads up to the big race and brings fans close to their favorite drivers.
Welcome to Carb Day.
It’s a day when fans show off their spirit and while celebrating IndyCar’s biggest weekend.
“Oh, it’s definitely a party,” said race fan Josh Mason. “We’re up there having a great time enjoying some adult beverages.”
It takes a lot of help to pull off such an event without a hitch. Like the fans, many safety patrollers, also known as “yellow shirts,” return each year.
This is a job some take seriously so fans can enjoy the greatest party in racing.
To make it go off, Indianapolis Motor Speedway relies on those in yellow, some giving blasts of encouragement with whistles. However, it’s important to note that not all sounds are the same.
Richard Loniewski, also known as “the whistle man,” is one of these workers in yellow. Around his neck is just some of his collection of over one hundred whistles.
“This comes from Peru. It’s a China whistle,” said Loniewski showing off one of his newer whistles.
Loniewski explains his massive collection is necessary to handle the traffic.
“They fill up with saliva quite a bit. You have to keep switching until one drains out,” he said.
Each year, Loniewski keeps coming back. Not because of the amount of whistles, but the ways he’s found out how to use them.
“Those sharp blasts usually get the attention of the people,” he stated.
While he may produce more than a hundred sounds, each of Loniewski’s whistles serves a purpose.
“They all mean the same thing: Get out of the way,” said Loniewski.
Although the sounds of the whistles may get to your head, Loniewski enjoys getting away from home. Although, he’s not sure which option is quieter.
“I get away from home and have to listen to these people down here. I don’t know what’s worse, my wife, or the people,” joked Loniewski.
In all, two thousand safety patrolers will work at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month. All of them are paid, working nearly nine thousand total shifts.
They’ll continue to be busy over the next couple of days. Once the concert wraps Friday night, there’s another on Saturday. Then of course, the Indy 500 takes place Sunday.