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June at the Speedway Vintage Invitational Races


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#1 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 03:49 PM

Got some sun and the rain didn't appear as predicted.

 

Spent quality time with racers and car owners and car people.

 

My appreciation of "sports cars" has improved, but I still prefer the Vettes and Cobras and GT-40s over the Jags the Enzo cars and etc.

 

And the Lolas I like. The 70 era Trans Am cars Cudas Camoros and dominated by Mustangs herded by P. Jones and G. Follmer,

 

and the incredible Can Am creatures by Bruce McLaren and ...

 

 

The modern Le Mans cars were neat too.

 

Now the kings of the road to me will always be the Watson roadsters and the copies there of.

 

It is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after all and without the INDY 500 there would no big time racing,

 

few tracks survived the Great Depression and the Indy purses kept a lot of car people from starving.

 

Had a blast and even had one beer in the pits with friends.

 

Went thru the Hall of Fame Museum too.

 

Looking forward to next year.

 

Jim


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#2 Guest_Darren Hastings_*

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 10:30 PM

Awesome!!

The 70s produced some amazing cars.

#3 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 04:33 AM

1964 Cobra 289 (plenty of hp and not nose-heavy like 427 Cobra is).

This car ate europe's lunch, Ferrari, Jag, Astons no matter... Audi.... please in that day....Benz? no guts no glory.

 

None had anything to show Carroll Shelby and those So-Cal hotrodders snubbed by the "tea-baggers" before MacDonald and Miles showed them the way.

Not even european mega-dollars could help.

 

All selling with in street trim for less than a Vette let alone any of the others "cars" in class or not.

 

I always wanted mine in Shelby Blue with white stripes....

and for the illusion of control I want the fiberglass hardtop installed.

 

Jim



#4 Guest_Darren Hastings_*

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 06:00 AM

I'm hearing you.

Shelby blue with white stripes looks very smart.
Not sure about the 'glass hardtop. Need to see one in person I think.

#5 Larry Trotter

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 07:47 PM

Back in '03, while attending an event at IRP, due to some classic displays, I was able to view upclose that '60s era Indianapolis RaceCar with the sidecar for the driver "placement". I believe it was sponsored by Hurst, and possibly was a Smokey Yunick "creation". I don't think it ever qualified for the "500", but may have been attempted by Duane Carter, whose son Poncho Carter signed in at the pit window at the same time we did. It seems to me that the sidecar would need to be a little wider to accommodate someone "brave enough"  to race that "car".  :blink: 


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#6 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 12:06 AM

Smokey's Side Car!

 

From a day when Indy was not cookie cutter specification cars and few engine choices, innovation ruled.

 

Today Andy Granitelli's turbine would never pass "tech", so hide bound has Indycar racing become.

 

Unconventional approaches no longer need apply for the 225 mph speed limit applied.

 

The ultimate "Un-Indy-500" of the last couple of decades when idiots let car owners write the rulebooks!.

 

Come on back to the 5 and dime Tony George, one owner who knows what Indy is.

 

 

Pancho Carter can fly an Indycar upside down.

 

I have a photo of Poncho upside down in the 80s. No harm except to the car.

 

Single car "oops", wind caught him out in the short chute.

 

Amazing photo. I keep it on the wall as tribute to more guts than I can find for myself.

 

Jim

 

Thanks Larry for triggering pleasent memories.

 

The vintage races had many "retired" Indycars, even a v-12 Studebaker racer from the 1930s, lotus-fords and the Watson roadsters

 

and even one of the lotus wedge turbines that could sneak up on spectators so well. Wooosh!

 

I bet you'd like this event of early June.

 

Be aware the price of admission to the hall of fame museum has doubled to 8 bucks though.



#7 Larry Trotter

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Posted 27 June 2015 - 02:03 PM

Thanks to YouTube I have been able to see several Indianapolis 500s with the Roadsters. Once upon a time it is as if there were 33 works of art circling the 2.5 mile rectangle known as Indianapolis Motor Speedway, at about 150 mph average speed. In those days, with narrow tires and without wings on those front engine cars, the drivers had to lift and sometimes brake entering those turns. My first up close viewing of an Indy Roadster was in '61 at Meyer Speedway/Houston on display. It was the #86 driven that year by Ebb Rose. Although likely not AJ Watson built, it was beautiful. Pink and black, and it was the Meyer Speedway Special.  :wub: 


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#8 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 27 June 2015 - 06:41 PM

The beautiful Watson roadsters! And the copies of them!!!

 

In this age of "Penski n Ganassi n the Andretti teams" too few remember the people like AJ Watson. 

 

Spreading his design by selling kits, complete turnkey cars and even drawings of his dominant cars.

 

He is quoted as saying he just wanted Indy to be better for all when Sports Illustrated named him "King of Indy",

 

he had a magnificent run of victories longer if one includes the winning copies of his cars.

 

Today when I think of Parnell(I) Jones and the "Calhoun" roadster running 150 mph on those skinny tires of '62, I know that is a brave and gifted driver.

 

No way I'd have even tried on those tires.

 

Thanks again Larry,

 

Jim



#9 Larry Trotter

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 12:22 PM

And thanks to you Jim for stirring these cobwebs between my ears. Speaking of AJ Watson, back in October '59, when I was age 12 but approaching age 13, the newly constructed Meyer Speedway 1/2 Mile paved oval opened up in southwest Houston, featuring USAC SprintCars. It was only a field of 14 cars, and Billy Griswold was 14th fastest driving, I believe, an Oldsmobile powered SprintCar. And, this was a time before roll cages were used, with fastest qualifier being Parnelli Jones, but 2nd fastest was AJ Foyt, driving the AJ Watson owned and prepared SprintCar. In the field as well was Melvin Eugene "Tony Sr" Bettenhausen, and Don Branson. Possibly Jim Hurtubise was there also, but I am not sure. However, I do remember seeing AJ Watson in the pit area after the event, as well as Tony Bettenhausen. I wish I could see an entry list with qualifying and race results, as I am sure there were other great open wheel racers competing that day as well.

After 2 or 3 wave offs of the start due to Parnelli Jones advancing too soon, or maybe AJ Foyt advancing a little late, the #51 car of Jones appeared to have excess fuel in the injectors that slowed his speed gain when the race started and he dropped back to 14th and last place. However, after about 1 lap Parnelli was up to speed, and gained on Foyt throughout the 50 lap feature race and finished a close 2nd. :) 


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#10 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 03:57 AM

Racers are a different breed, not many died in their sleep, more now than before.

 

I know by word of the grapevine what kind of person Justin Wilson was.

 

That grapevine carried much more reality than the media.

 

Sad but I recall a far deadlier time in open wheel racing, extracting a toll of a few good drivers every season, not one every 4 or 5 seasons.

 

Art Pollard was a great fellow working with the injured children, he did enjoy going really fast.

 

There are many others caught out by chance, the blow cannot be lessened to those that knew the people taken early.

 

A tribute to Gary, Merle, Tony and Tony Jr. Bettenhausen.

 

Its a fine fellow and fellows passed.

 

My favorite 500 was '72. Gary B was the class of the field by a bunch. After the elder Unser brother's All-American-Racers Eagle broke only Gary's Penske sponsored McLaren was as fast.

 

Fortune stole the race that was a runaway from Gary and I heard the whole front stretch crowd moan as one.

 

More than a lap in front up to that moment.

 

An Indiana hometown guy (imported from Tinley Park Ill.) missed his best chance.

 

Soon a sprint car rendered his left arm useless but it didn't hinder Gary's driving except in the corporate eyes of Roger Penski the "person" and the corporation of bullshit.

 

Roger the jerk asswipe fired Gary for getting hurt.

 

Like Tom Sneva he wasn't "winning enough".

 

After Sneva finished 2nd at Indy twice and won the driving championship in Penski colors.

 

Penski sent him looking for a ride?! Stupid corporate ethics are NO ETHICS AT ALL.

 

Justice for Tom Sneva came in '83 when he and George Bignotti whupped Penski/Mears et. al.

 

Many wished Gary or Tony Jr. could find the luck to win a 500 but it never came to the Bettenhausen Family.

 

My mind was already made up about the jerk Roger the bloodsucker of Indy Racing a vampire draining the husk even now of what was.

 

It irks me when I hear the media lackeys refer to Penski as the Captain....

 

When I think of a certain USMC skipper that once was my Captain O-3 retired as a full bird gyrene a few years back.

 

I remember that day when myself and many others were positive "Gary B is gonna win the 500!!!"

 

It was not Penski that made Indy.

 

Indy made The Punk, ask AJ Foyt.

 

Today we can't ask AJ Watson but he too knew what Indy means.

 

Some know, some never will.

 

Here's a hint: Tony Hulman and Wilbur Shaw made Indy what it is, not Penski and Ganassi and $$$$.

 

Some recall the "Ford Motel" and like hardships undertaken to be able to race on Memorial Day at Indy.

 

The same ones that knew the "risk" and went for it to the max -

 

then and now!



#11 Larry Trotter

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 12:06 PM

Thanks for the comments Jim. However I don't really know anything about RP, but his record in auto racing has to be admirable. It is my understanding that he has some long time employees, and he has always been major competition for the kid from Houston. It is also my understanding that GB was asked to not race SprintCars when he was driving for RP in Indianapolis/ChampionshipCars and NASCAR StockCars . So, I suppose I see both sides.

IMO, major open-wheel automobile racing in America needs to regroup, and soon. But, last Sunday was a sad day for auto racing. Race Car Driver Justin Wilson was quite brave, but not at all stupid, and his crash after his injury by debris from another crashed car was absolutely not of his doing. I was watching the race but could not tell what happened before seeing several replays that were analyzed by Paul Tracy. But, PT knew the seriousness of the accident, and Michael Andretti's reserved comment along with his facial expression was very telling.


Larry

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#12 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 06:08 AM

The word among some involved or used to be involved in Open Wheel US Racing  is that the only time Penski Racing ever dominated anything is ONLY when Roger Penski was allowed to write the rules setting regulations of the cars.

 

(Cart in all its' tarnished glory). Great helmsmanship there.

 

Cookie cutter cars, dictated engine choices, only aero-package different choices and only the plastic wrappers are different by sponsor desired colors.

 

120 entries some years pre-Penski at Indy. 3 or 4 year old cars being competitive only because the rules were written early and stayed constant once set.

 

Winning by cheating is cheating not winning.

 

Penski Racing ruled out a competitor's carbon fiber tub (safer stronger lighter and better) seemingly because their own Penski chassis of like constriction was not ready to deploy/sell, with dire financial consequences for that competing firm. Other big names involved in Cart's board of D's rendering, or so I'm told.

 

The carbon-fiber tubs were already produced awaiting final "CART" certification that came the next season.

 

IMS has always done a service to open wheel racing without team owner demands of operation.

 

The safer barriers and the HANS device were the work of the Speedway and their medical director assist to IUMed in the case of the HANS device demanded now in all racing.

 

Indy was there first in both cases.

 

It would have saved Earnhart Sr probably. But not Senna or Wilson... or Scotty Brayton.

 

Amazing engineering goin' on somewhere with enclosed canopies... DOD bird strike data reapplied?

 

Or so the sea story goes in the garages of the not-big-three teams... fwiw.



#13 Larry Trotter

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 11:03 PM

It is amazing what that so simple looking HeadAndNeckSupport device has done for RaceCarDrivers crash survival ability. Yes, I believe it would have saved Dale Earnhardt Sr as well as Adam Petty, among so many others.


Larry

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