Saturday, May 29, 2010

Indianapolis - Day 2

It's day 2 here in Indianapolis. There's nothing much going on at the track today, so it's the perfect opportunity to sit down with the Dragon Racing engineers to gather material for my article. It's also a perfect chance to soak up some of the history that is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Administration Building looks pretty new. This is where I had to go first thing Friday morning to pick up my credentials for the race. The speedway is celebrating its centennial. It's 100 years old, but since there were no races for several years during the world wars, it's not yet the 100th running of the Indy 500. So the Brickyard will celebrate its centennial for several years.

One of the most distinctive aspects of this place is the main gate. It's just iconic. I had to stop and take a picture.

Then I went over to the Hall of Fame. This building houses one of the finest collections of race cars and other automobiles in the world, and they all still run. It was a fascinating visit for me, not only to see the former Indy 500 winners, but also because a number of the vehicles on display factor into my upcoming book on the land speed record. Here's a Patent Benz, one of the very first automobiles.

And this Delage, while the 1914 Indy winner in its own right, was also a land speed record holder in its day.

Of course, one of the high points for me was to see this car, one of the three STP turbine cars that ran in the 1968 Indy 500. That was the last time I came to Indianapolis. My cousin Jerry took me to the race when I was 15 years old. We sat in turn 4 and watched the turbine cars dominate the race only to break down just a few laps from the end.

After spending several hours in the museum, I spent a few more hours in the Dragon Racing garage, talking with the engineers and admiring a beautiful example of today's modern open-wheel race cars.

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