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Its May in Indianapolis and I love it.


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#1 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 08:32 AM

As always I only want all drivers, crew members, track staff and spectators to go home in nearly the same condition as they arrived.

 

I won't fight the crowd to go, but next year for the 100th race I'll figure a way to go.

 

Blacked out in Indy is just plain crap......dammit.

 

The racers and crews have worked hard all week with rule changes and such but all know what is required to race fast and safe.

 

And we all know that shit happens.

 

Jim


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#2 Larry Trotter

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 10:00 AM

I agree sir. I've been to the south end of the speedway and museum in '03, and saw a little F1 practice on a Friday, very little as it started to rain. But, I have never attended any race there, as I/we were there for USAC Midgets at IRP, or whatever they call it now, that was set for Friday night, but due to rain was moved over to Saturday, which, I believe was Sept 29th. My first live broadcast 500 viewing was in '64 on Closed Circuit TV, which had the crash and explosion, I believe on lap 2, that took Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald.


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#3 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 04:30 PM

The film of that incident is the most horrific clip I've ever seen bar none (64 Indy).

 

My first race by radio was 1958, I remember the radio and the picnic with neighbors, not the race.

 

Not until 1970 did the family go to the track for the race.

 

Al Unser was the class of the field and had the best looking car by Vel Melitich, Parnell (no i) Jones and George Bignotti.

 

In 1974 Pop and I went to the race alone and we got trashed as I was home on leave, so I was a railbird until 1973 for practice and such.

 

Hooking high school to sit in turn 3 for '71 for all but the race and stand B (front stretch) for raceday.

 

I grew up enamoured of the rear engine "revolution" and Jim Clark in the 1963 - 67 time frame.

 

I was addicted to the race by radio and Mr. Sid Collins in the 1960s, so the die was cast early.

 

One of the finest gifts my Pop ever gave me was the love of motorsports and an inherent appreciation for "non-book-taught" engineering as well as for aviation too.

 

I remain grateful to him.

 

Then in 1970 I went to the NHRA Nationals for my birthday! Changed my head, I could afford to do this kind of racing!

 

I know why Jim Nicoll is known as Superman.

 

Still only the 500 is the 500!

 

Jim

 

Thanks Larry for sharing good or bad memories.



#4 Larry Trotter

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 11:36 AM

Although I was aware of pre'58 500s, my first time to "watch on radio" was also '58, as that "rookie from Houston" had entered and qualified for the event. However, I suppose I failed to realize the "day of the event", and missed about the 1st 100 miles. When my friend and I went to hang out in an area Barber Shop and enjoy their A/C, I noticed that the barbers were listening to the race. When I asked about who was leading and how that rookie from Houston was doing, one of the barbers informed me about the 1st lap crash that took Pat O'Connor.  At that point I hopped on my bicycle for the 1 mile trip home and there listened to the rest of the race. There is an interesting Y/T video with Valerie Bettenhausen-Stephan, the widow of M E "Tony Sr" Bettenhausen, regarding the '58 lap 1 accident. She repeated a story that I had heard "way back when", but that's the first and so far only time I saw/heard/read it "publicly".

Thanks for sharing Jim. 


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#5 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 05:31 AM

Yep and don't forget the good races.

 

1974 watching John Rutherford drive clean from 24th starting position to 3rd in 10 laps.

All clean cutting no one off, when you watch that some know what they are seeing.

 

A memory to keep.

 

The year Sam Hornish ran down and passed cleanly Marco Andretti on lap 200 between turn 4 and the finish line.

 

The heartbreak of the young man going high into the gray crap on turn four and taking himself from first place to second also on the last lap.

To Dan Weldon's surprise second Indy 500.

 

For every negative memory I have a thousand great ones.

 

Like Lloyd Ruby .... and Jim Herk Hurtibise and his likeing for beer and fishing when not engineering his car all the time.

 

Or Parnell Jones and Calhoun shining in the hoosier sunshine before the race.

 

Jim

 

And then there is this guy named Garlits... going even faster than any Indy 500.

 

However I still remember fondly Swede Savage, Art Pollard and Blaine Johnson with others, knowing they each made the choice to go for it!

 

I can support that choice in 1911 and today.



#6 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 03:56 AM

I am glad the Race is run and almost everyone is as good as race day morning.

 

Looking forward to the 100th next year. I will attend just to celebrate that I made it.

 

Juan deserved this one but Penski didn't.

 

Chevy needed it.

 

Jim

 

Where's the blue oval or Audi?

 

I know those folks can if they want.



#7 Larry Trotter

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 02:11 AM

Of possible interest to Jim Hackett, as May approaches, I am reminded that along with the 500 Mile Race in Speedway, IN, there is also the Little 500 SprintCar Race at the 1/4 mile Anderson, IN facility. In the 1966 Little 500, finishing 2nd and awarded top rookie honors was Bill White, of Temple, TX. Recently, on January 23, I attended a reunion of some old racers, and was able to say hello, and shake hands with that same Bill White. A real legend around Texas, and nearby areas as well, from the 20th century, racing StockCars, ModifiedStockCars, SuperModifiedCars, MidgetCars, and SprintCars. But, he was one of quite a few great racers present from the same era. It was a great event, with about 500 racers and fans in attendance.


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#8 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 09:39 PM

It is a rich heritage in the whole midwest for all motorsports though I don't really know why.

 

Sprints Winchester and Anderson and Paragon and all the now defunct 1/8 mile drag strips with a few surviving. What we called stockers in the dirt long before Nascar got famous.

 

Midgets and everything up to Indycars it is a wide ranging addiction. I still detest the time between the Super Bowl and Daytona Speed Week and the 24 hour racers and bikes and all.

 

I don't know quite how it all got started, model cars as a kid. Listening to the 500 and reading Hot Rod while still bicycle bound, and yep we raced each other with them too.

 

And night street racing for a time until one of us died. Woke all of us up about safety and taking it to the right tracks.

 

However at age 5 my Pop took me and my brother to drop in on Don Garlits' original garage when we lived in Largo Fla.... so it may be a genetic and nurture thing.

 

I was impressed by the nitro cackle that still makes my blood perk up but airplanes and that were my desire then...

 

I was lately more impressed when a couple of former hi-dollar California fuel racers admitted 'ya had to watch those midwest guys, something in the farmer genes and adaptability of farmers'.

 

I bet Tony Stewart would agree.?

 

I am so looking forward to the Red Bull Air Races coming to the Speedway in October.

 

The ambiance of the Speedway and racing aircraft! Can't miss it!

I just wish it was the Reno Racers - so much more raw speed like Indy deserves to host.

 

I have a thing about Mustangs and Bearcats. Hey Hoot Gibson is the best pilot flying those 500 mph racers.

 

Darn another midwest kid that loved speed and to fly, imagine that.



#9 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 03:02 AM

Its May in Indy again.

Team 18-wheelers showing up here n there.

The 100th go! Amazing.

And the National drags for the 62nd time this Labor Day.

 

Long time friends coming even in middle of tornadoes droppin'.

Only wind and hail passed through last night here.

 

Now how could I ever leave the midwest for long?

I said something in another thread about moderation, moderation enforced by my body when the folks gather at race time.

Otherwise....?

Well at least I can still run to the airport or whatever for my friends and get to see the goings-on if I want to fight the crowd.

No, on race day I go to watch it live on tv like everybody else, but local blackout sucks.

Come on IMS wake the fuck up, jackasses!

 

Still look to the antique races in June.

And the Air Races in October.



#10 Larry Trotter

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 02:47 PM

Hey there Jim,

It is so very hard for me to fathom, but Houston, Texas does not have an open paved oval speedway at this time. There is a quite nice, but closed, 3/8 mile, they claim, that looks more like 5/16 mile to me, located near Lake Houston. It is a nice facility, but hard to comprehend how it remains closed. A great and fast 1/2 mile paved oval in San Antonio is also dormant, and the last I heard, the old CC Speedway in Corpus Christi, 1/4 mile paved has also ceased operations, which leaves the 3/8 mile paved d-oval in Kyle, TX as the only in operation paved track in south Texas. At least to my knowledge.  :( 


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#11 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 12:15 AM

Being a motorsports junkie I can't understand why other areas abandon their dedicated race tracks as some locations did.

In my days in So Cal. it was Lions dying and San Gabe and on and on.

Later even Ontario goes away?!

No fear Roger Penski built a cookie cutter 1 and 1/2 mile place not 2 miles away 20 years later?!.

But not the same.

Short-sighted folks.

History making places bulldozed for TRACT HOUSING AND STRIP MALLS!!!?!

 

Long Beach loves its' street curcuit. I prefer Laguna Seca and Sonoma.

Even the road track as part of Indianapolis Raceway Park (outside indy not the "Speedway's" F1 left over) is too rarely used.

I can't keep up with the corporate renaming of race tracks so I use the original names.

I'm glad that the Speedway is still Indianapolis Motor Speedway in spite of error of no motors but in the starters

and none of them onboard except NASCAR stockers and some of the Vintage racecars - Duntov Vettes Cobras and Ferraris and Porches in June.

If one investigates the history of it the primary places where racing took off after WW2 vets returned was where the aircraft manufacturing thrived. Places like Indy and all SoCal and Detroit as examples.

Machinists and engineering craftsmen knew how to make horsepower with FoMoCo's flathead V-8 as well as aircraft engines. They knew 100 Octane gasoline too.

Even now I hear that Indiana had to rewrite their tax code to give a break to race shops to retain the supporting businesses lately.

a slap in the face to the way some of my "old-timer" friends ran their operation before the changes.

John Force and Mike Andretti teams moved some or all the team shop ops to Brownburg 10 miles out of Indy.

I guess every track didn't have a couple of crazy hoosiers deciding to rebuild the Speedway in 1945 and dedicated to saving the place.

Wilbur Shaw and Tony Hulman did the deed. $$$$$$ from Clabber Girl Baking Powder and the passion for the Speedway did it.

 

Not as many youth doing real racing as once was the case.

And the insurance corporations priced the small tracks out of profitability.

Nothing is as sad as a race track abandoned to rot or sold for profit.

Except one covered in rain on raceday.






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