Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Greatest Spectacle In Racing

The sign at this track says...
Ed has been here before, for an actual race, but this would be my first time. Thankfully, there was no race during my visit.

Our tickets.  Just $8.00 to enter a true Hall of Fame. I'm not a car fan or race fan, I don't have a favorite driver, and quite honestly, I can't imagine how watching a car go in a circle (okay, an oval) for 500 miles is the least bit interesting. But sometimes, certain places just need to be seen.  
This is the Panasonic Pagoda. It's located at the start-finish line and is as tall as a 13-story building. It contains state-of-the-art facilities for race control, safety, timing and scoring and radio broadcast booths.

It's where you'll find the Yard of Bricks, some of the "most hallowed ground in worldwide motorsports".

Inside the museum, Ed poses with the sterling silver Borg-Warner Trophy. According to the wording on the bottom of the trophy pedestal, "The sterling silver Borg-Warner Trophy has been symbolic of victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1936. A silver likeness of each winner has been added to this trophy since that date. To each winner, Borg Warner presents a smaller sterling silver replica of this handsome award."

Personally, I think my Eddie is the handsome award.

This is the Marmon "Wasp" that won the very first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. Ray Harroun was the driver and it took 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 8 seconds to win. His average speed during the race was 74.6 mph. I feel comfortable doing 20 mph in this thing, even with a little leather helmet.

Over 50 years after this win, in 1963, the Marmon Motor Car Company, by then renamed the Marmon Motor Company, also manufactured semi trucks. It was a low-production, handmade truck often called the Rolls-Royce of trucks. They ceased truck production in 1997.

The placard in front of this car said, "The famed six-cylinder, single-seat, streamlined Marmon "Wasp" won the very first Indianapolis 500 in 1911, driven by Ray Harroun and relief man Cyrus Patschke. It was designed and built by the engineering department of the Indianapolis-based Nordyke & Marmon passenger-car firm. In response to complaints during practice that he was a potential safety hazard by not carrying a riding mechanic, driver/engineer Harroun rigged up, above the cowling, what is believed to have been the very first rearview mirror ever used on an automobile."

This is the Noc-Out Hose Clamp Special, the 1941 winner. It was driven by Floyd Eldon Davis for the first 72 laps, and then Mauri Rose for the remainder of the race.
A room full of colorful race cars.
The car below is the 1955 Indianapolis 500 Winner, The Pink Zink.

The information placard reads, "Although nicknamed "The Pink Zink," the correct name for the color of the 1955 Indianapolis 500-winning Kurtis-Kraft 500D was, according to car owner John S. Zink Jr., "tropical rose."  Starting back in the 14th, Bob Sweikert charged to the lead by lap 58 and led a total of 86 laps, including the last 41 in succession. This victory was the first of four as chief mechanic for A.J. Watson, who at the victory banquet gave much credit to Sweikert. Following qualifications, Watson had been called back to California on a family emergency, and it was Sweikert himself who single-handedly tore down and race-prepped the Offenhauser engine that won."

Car #32, the Sampson 16 Special.
This is the 1912 Fiat that came in second in the 1912 Indianapolis 500.  Teddy Tetzlaff was the driver and he ran the 4-cylinders of this baby at an average speed of 76.6 miles per hour.
This car reminds me of the little metal toy race cars we had as kids.  The colors, the STP on the nose, the shape of the car.
This belongs to a 1907 Itala Grand Prix race car. It's a 4-cylinder Itala race engine that, in 1910, ran 19.5 miles at an average speed of 97.5 miles per hour with a top lap at 101.8 miles an hour.

This particular car was built in the Itala factory in Torino, Italy.

As you'd expect, the cars get more "racier" looking as they get more modern.  The first one in this row in the 1996 Indianapolis 500 Winner.
Ed gets behind the wheel for a photo op. I'm sure if he could have set up his video screen right in front of him, he would have been in heaven. And security would have had to escort him out.

I squeezed into this one too - the picture was not flattering and you'll never see it, so don't ask - and it wasn't as tight as I imagined it would be. Getting out was more difficult because upper body strength was required to lift your whole body out. At least until you could bend a knee to push yourself out. I'm happy to report that I did it without Ed's help.

And this last car is the 1968 Indianapolis 500 Winner. It was driven by Bobby Unser.

The information poster accompanying this car said, "Bobby Unser's first of three "500" wins came in 1968. Driving a Rislone-sponsored 1968 Eagle entered by Leader Cards, Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The car's four-cylinder 161-cubic-inch Drake Offenhauser engine was boosted by a turbocharger. This being the first occasion on which a turbocharged engine won the "500." The car has no rear wings because "bolt-on" wings were not permitted until 1972. This car figured quite prominently in the racing action scenes in the Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Robert Wagner motion picture, "Winning". Although the close-up shots involving the actors and the "mock" racing scenes shot during the summer of 1968 used a 1967 Eagle with a similar paint job."
I took the photo of this car for my brother. 1968 is the year he was born and today is his birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mikey!

I hope you have a winning year!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Fall Babies

2013: We Are Family! I Got My Brother And Me!
2012: The Highlight Of My Life
Dream Big. Live Bigger.
Always Merry When Around My Brother
Living Outside The Touch Of Time
Girls And Their Boys
Living History
Company On The Prairie
Rack Eyes


Belledog said...

That's some serious automotive bling.

Eddie makes that car look better.

Gil said...

On one of our trips to the West Coast we did a bit of sightseeing in IN. We first went to Marion, where I was born and then headed South to INDY. I always wanted to go the the 500 and figured if we were close to the track, we should at least go there. As I drove into the grounds, I saw a sign that said something like "take a ride around the famous Brickyard". I followed the arrows and signs and ended up on the track driving my 67 Volvo 122S with about 250,000 miles on it. Didn't get too far before some officials pulled us over and said that I misinterpreted the signs. You had to pay for a ride around the track. Went to the museum instead. Your pictures are great.

The Daily Rant said...


GIL: That's a GREAT story! We went on the track tour - which is essentially a narrated bus ride around the track. It was cool, though. My friend Marlaina, her husband, and our friend Gary were there this summer for Vespamerica - they got to ride their Vespa around the track before they sold it! Very neat. I got so many pictures, I had to choose the ones I thought were the best. Thanks for the compliment!

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