(WOMR file photo)
It has been seventeen years (17) since my last time in the grandstands at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the year was 1996.
That year, 1996, was the first year that Tony George, the former president of the the speedway and grandson of legendary owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony Hulman, split from the sanctioning body, CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams). Tony George organized the Indy Racing League (IRL), and initiated the rift that has nearly killed open wheel racing! But I digress!
Anyway Wednesday morning I will be driving to the speedway for American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day. There will be several autograph sessions for the current Indy Car Series drivers that are in the field for the 2013 Indy 500.
On Thursday the track activities include Indy Lights practice for the Firestone Freedom 100, and qualifying for the race that will be on Friday. Additionally, there will be some of the vintage Indy 500 race cars, from the golden era of racing, brought out to the track. Those classics are normally housed within the museum!
The Friday track activities includes vintage Indy 500 cars, Indy 500 practice (Carb Day), even though these race cars have not had carburetors in about forty years, the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race, and the Indy 500 pit stop competition.
Saturday will find the vintage Indy 500 roadsters, vintage sprint cars, and vintage midgets out along pit road, as well as honoring, and celebrating Parnelli Jones’ 50th anniversary of his 1963 Indy 500 victory!
Lastly, I really don’t have to tell you what happens on Sunday, it is “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing”, the 97th running of the Indy 500.
Notwithstanding all that is going on at the track prior to the Sunday race, there is an excellent chance that history might be made this Sunday when the checkered flag waves. Both Dario Franchitti and Helio Castroneves have a shot at joining a very exclusive Indy 500 club, if either of them wins the race. Both drivers have won this prestige race a total of three times.
There has been only three race car drivers, in the entire history of the Indy 500, to win the 500 four times. Those drivers in this fraternity are “Super Tex”, A.J. Foyt, Jr., Al Unser, Sr., and Rick Mears! If either Dario, or Helio can win this race, they will forever be in a very good company, and a rather large feather will be stuck in their caps!
Standby for further updates from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!
ROGER, WILCO, OVER, AND OUT!