If he had sketched it out on paper, the approaching Memorial Day weekend looked impossible for Jimmy Wilson. There were too many things going on – BIG things – over the span of just a few days.
There were the obvious events: twin 50’s in the Ellison sprint car at the state fairgrounds on Friday night; the Indianapolis 500 parade and driver’s meeting on Saturday; and the illustrious 500-mile race on Sunday.
But he was also required to do several appearances for his Indy sponsor, WNPA Radio, and USAC publicist Jeff Todd asked the USAC sprint car guys who were running the 500 – Jimmy, Bobby Mancini, Steve Graffan, and Sammy Caldwell – to make some media appearances with him throughout the day on Thursday.
Jimmy didn’t like having so much stuff crammed into a short amount of time. He liked to have a little breathing room in his day, but that wasn’t going to happen this weekend.
But what was there to complain about? Not a doggone thing. He had made the Indy field on the first weekend with a top team, the best showing he had ever had at the Speedway.
He would start Sunday’s race in the middle of row four, and the team’s primary driver – Lloyd Martin – was in the middle of row two. This was a golden opportunity to run the biggest race in the world and Jimmy knew it.
Jimmy smiled when he thought about this past Monday night. Al and Nancy Petrov had arranged to pick him up after work, and they took him to a men’s clothing shop. Nancy helped Jimmy pick out three nice shirts and three pairs of nice pants. She matched the colors up and even selected a new belt. Then it was off to the shoe store.
“You know, I can do this myself,” Jimmy gently insisted. “I’m just letting you help me because I like you.”
“Well, I know, but remember last year at the luncheon?” Nancy reminded him. “You wore a red shirt and greenish pants, Jimmy. That will never do. And the pants were much too short! And there was the black belt and brown shoes … so we thought you could use some guidance before your big weekend.”
Jimmy had to admit, it felt good knowing he was wearing the right clothes. He even got a haircut, and made sure to shave every day that week.