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Memorial Day Weekend and the Indianapolis 500


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I am 56 years old and grew up about 45 miles north of Indianapolis. Few things in my life mark time, and give a sense of tradition like listening to the race on the radio on Sunday morning and afternoon. I have been in person many times, but most years it is a radio event for me. I realize it is televised but I prefer to have every radio in the house/garage/outside....tuned in for the radio broadcast as my day is filled with projects and tinkering with the race always in the background.  If it doesn’t appeal to you, I’d encourage you to read into it’s history.  Stutz, Marmon, Duesenberg.....the stuff we love has its heritage as a part of the race. If you get a chance to go to the museum on site, do it. So much history that any car lover will appreciate. 
get it on your radio today if you can and tackle a project on your car with it in the background.  
 

“gentlemen, start your engines”....

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Although NASCAR is my favorite form of motorsports, I won't miss the Indy 500. It's just a special race. This will be the 11th or 12th consecutive one I've seen, and if I didn't sleep through that one it would have been a lot more, but I didn't start watching it until the early 2000s, which I now regret. At least I got to see a lot of older ones when we had ESPN Classic.

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5 minutes ago, hook said:

My car was on the track back in 78. Here's a photo taken through my windshield. 

3 taken through my windshield.jpg

6.JPG

Great stuff, thanks for sharing. I’ve never driven on the track, but my wife tricked me several times into doing the half marathon associated with the 500 festival, so I have run on it.  Sharp car and great pics!

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1 minute ago, John Bloom said:

Great stuff, thanks for sharing. I’ve never driven on the track, but my wife tricked me several times into doing the half marathon associated with the 500 festival, so I have run on it.  Sharp car and great pics!

From what I understand. They don't allow any driving on the track anymore. Of course that was with the last part of the Tony George family ownership. Don't know what the Penske organization ownership will do. The photo I've just included was posted on another part of the forum. It's a parking lot at the 1911 Indy.

1911.jpg

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1 hour ago, John Bloom said:

I am 56 years old and grew up about 45 miles north of Indianapolis. Few things in my life mark time, and give a sense of tradition like listening to the race on the radio on Sunday morning and afternoon. I have been in person many times, but most years it is a radio event for me. I realize it is televised but I prefer to have every radio in the house/garage/outside....tuned in for the radio broadcast as my day is filled with projects and tinkering with the race always in the background.  If it doesn’t appeal to you, I’d encourage you to read into it’s history.  Stutz, Marmon, Duesenberg.....the stuff we love has its heritage as a part of the race. If you get a chance to go to the museum on site, do it. So much history that any car lover will appreciate. 
get it on your radio today if you can and tackle a project on your car with it in the background.  
 

“gentlemen, start your engines”....

Listened to it every year on the radio from 1960 until they started showing it on TV

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I remember my late uncle always listening to the race on the radio regardless of tv coverage.  Same for Phillies baseball games.  Radio only for him.  A good announcer can make you feel you are right there in the grandstand.

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2 hours ago, hook said:

From what I understand. They don't allow any driving on the track anymore. Of course that was with the last part of the Tony George family ownership. Don't know what the Penske organization ownership will do. The photo I've just included was posted on another part of the forum. It's a parking lot at the 1911 Indy.

1911.jpg

 

The car at the bottom left says "Fisher Auto Co" on it.  Wonder if Carl is standing there?

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Been there and enjoyed every second. My seats were in the 3rd turn up behind the little bunch of flowers on the fence behind the tv camera. Will never forget A.J. going straight into that wall in front of me, careening backwards across the track and watching Lyn St

James perform the boldest move ever to miss T-boning him by just inches. When I met her a few years ago we talked about it.  

AACA president Jim Elliott should be there now. 

Terry

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It has not been interesting to me in a long time, my Dad always watched.

 

Lets make it interesting again, give them 50 gallons of fuel, throw away the rule book, first one to 500 miles wins. OK a simple safety check.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Terry Bond said:

Been there and enjoyed every second. My seats were in the 3rd turn up behind the little bunch of flowers on the fence behind the tv camera. Will never forget A.J. going straight into that wall in front of me, careening backwards across the track and watching Lyn St

James perform the boldest move ever to miss T-boning him by just inches. When I met her a few years ago we talked about it.  

AACA president Jim Elliott should be there now. 

Terry

The speed and violence of a crash is almost  unbelievable. I was there when Danny Ongais crashed.....  and lived. The flyin Hawaiian. Every car fan should go once. 


 

Unconscious, front half of car gone, back half on fire. C0354B73-41A9-4C52-947D-60A01397F542.jpeg.9640865b2491bc3a42fef72aae110909.jpeg

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The velocity of the cars at full speed is impossible to describe. TV just doesn't feel the same as being there.

Just got a text from Donna Elliott, she and Jim are there and pretty excited. 

Let's Race!!!

Terry

 

 

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This is a shot of the 38 Studebaker coming up to the yard of bricks.  We got to go on the track after a show, went to the show only to get on the track. I was the lone prewar car.  Vetts, Porsche's, Mustang's, Ferrari's and other muscle cars and sports cars. I waited to be the last car in line with a lead car and a trail car.  First lap at 65 and then 75 then faster. About the 8 lap I was coming up on turn 4 and saw a Porsche going very slow so I moved to the inside to pass him. He stuck his hand out the window waved goodbye and was gone! I almost passed a Porsche.  I did get an award - The only car to do 15 laps and never lifted! 

1659177796_IndyBricks.png.5884ea3f0c5eaa880e5ac681d7e37f83.png

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5 minutes ago, SC38DLS said:

This is a shot of the 38 Studebaker coming up to the yard of bricks.  We got to go on the track after a show, went to the show only to get on the track. I was the lone prewar car.  Vetts, Porsche's, Mustang's, Ferrari's and other muscle cars and sports cars. I waited to be the last car in line with a lead car and a trail car.  First lap at 65 and then 75 then faster. About the 8 lap I was coming up on turn 4 and saw a Porsche going very slow so I moved to the inside to pass him. He stuck his hand out the window waved goodbye and was gone! I almost passed a Porsche.  I did get an award - The only car to do 15 laps and never lifted! 

1659177796_IndyBricks.png.5884ea3f0c5eaa880e5ac681d7e37f83.png

That is a great story.  And good to hear you doing it with your 38 Hoosier Iron!!

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3 hours ago, John Bloom said:

The speed and violence of a crash is almost  unbelievable. I was there when Danny Ongais crashed.....  and lived. The flyin Hawaiian. Every car fan should go once.
 

Unconscious, front half of car gone, back half on fire. C0354B73-41A9-4C52-947D-60A01397F542.jpeg.9640865b2491bc3a42fef72aae110909.jpeg

 

1981 … I'm still stunned he lived—in fact, he's still with us. The Bedard crash and seemingly endless flip in 1984 was the same but different—I was there, and I remain convinced that everyone at the speedway thought he was dead.

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I’ve gone to the time trials but never the race. The trials are a lot of fun if you can get close to or access to the pits. It’s a very intense all out effort for every team. 

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I was there in 1984 for the race.   100's of drunks passed out 2 hours before the race started.   The cops walked around and poked them, and if the moved they left them alone.  If they didn't they they loaded them up and took them to the hospital for de-tox.

The race cars went past so fast they were a blur.   The only way to know who was winning was the scoring tower and my portable radio.   The Museum in the infield was good and driving the track the day before with the end of the Great Americn Race was fun, even at 50 MPH.   The fans carried in beer in coolers the size of caskets, but we couldn't buy a beer while there.

I guess it was one of those once in a lifetime deals.   

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4 hours ago, Paul Dobbin said:

I was there in 1984 for the race.   100's of drunks passed out 2 hours before the race started.   The cops walked around and poked them, and if the moved they left them alone.  If they didn't they they loaded them up and took them to the hospital for de-tox.

The race cars went past so fast they were a blur.   The only way to know who was winning was the scoring tower and my portable radio.   The Museum in the infield was good and driving the track the day before with the end of the Great Americn Race was fun, even at 50 MPH.   The fans carried in beer in coolers the size of caskets, but we couldn't buy a beer while there.

I guess it was one of those once in a lifetime deals.   

 

As I recall, the track was originally opened in 1909. So 1984 would have been its 75th year! It was such a muddy mess its first year that they shut it down for 1910 and rebuilt the track. That was when the brick was laid. And the rest is lots and lots of history!

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My late father always enjoyed watching the race on TV; I don't know that he ever made it to the race, but on the mantle in his den was a Jim Beam decanter shaped like the state of Indiana. That souvenir, of some vacation he took before I was born, made mention of the race on the back. As a kid I honestly thought (and bragged to my friends) that this was Dad's trophy for winning the Indianapolis 500! 

 

I agree with others: I'd much rather listen to the race on the radio than watch it televised. For many years I tuned into the NASCAR races each week simply for the pleasure of hearing the banter and the excitement in their voices when something big happened.

 

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On 5/30/2021 at 4:45 PM, 1937hd45 said:

I'm all for safety, but the windshields and hallow bar reminded me of "CARS". 

OIP (4).jpg

Bob, while the new windshields may not please some of us or the drivers the race yesterday proved how valuable they are.  The tire that flew into Conor Daly could have killed him.  That design was based upon previous accidents and the need to protect the drivers head and neck even more. I still remember as a kid listening to the accident where Eddie Sachs was killed.  Not something I want to hear any more.  Heck, I remember how much I disliked it when they went away from the roadsters.  Racing is an evolution.  I am starring at the Belanger Special from 1955 in our lobby and I cannot believe how unsafe those cars were compared to today.  

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Posted (edited)

I’ve been to a few Indy speedway races, though not the Indy 500.  Fun events l, that I prefer to NASCAR because you can actually carry on a conversation with those around you.  They are relatively much quieter and, fewer in number.  That said, as far as in-person motorsports, nothing beats NHRA Top Fuel.  The feeling is indescribable, and the events are very spectator friendly.  A ticket gets you basically anywhere you want to go.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, 39BuickEight said:

I’ve been to a few Indy speedway races, though not the Indy 500.  Fun events l, that I prefer to NASCAR because you can actually carry on a conversation with those around you.  They are relatively much quieter and, fewer in number.  That said, as far as in-person motorsports, nothing beats NHRA Top Fuel.  The feeling is indescribable, and the events are very spectator friendly.  A ticket gets you basically anywhere you want to go.

I too grew up with drag racing.  Living in South-Central Michigan was perfect.  Several major drag strips were within an easy drive.  I had neighbors, friends and family involved in drag racing in the mid to late 60s and it was a perfect time to smell burring rubber and meet a few of racing's legends in the pit areas.  You are right-the throb of those Top Fuel cars is something I'll never forget.

Terry

 

 

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My brother went to the Indy 500 once and has also been to some Nascar events.

I have been to Nascar events but never Indy.

His comment was that the fans at Indy are there for a social event and Nascar fans are there to see the race.

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On 5/30/2021 at 4:31 PM, J3Studio said:

 

1981 … I'm still stunned he lived—in fact, he's still with us. The Bedard crash and seemingly endless flip in 1984 was the same but different—I was there, and I remain convinced that everyone at the speedway thought he was dead.

I was walking to my seat when Patrick Bedard was flipping thru the air. The crowd was screaming, then holding the collective breath. It was a sight I'll never forget.

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