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“INDY Legends” PRO-AM Field At IMS Swells

HAMMOND, IN: “Old Home Week” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is officially scheduled for June 6-8, 2014. The big new event, which is officially known as the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s “Indy Legend’s Pro-Am”, will bring a strong group of Indy 500 veterans, most of whom have been retired from active competition for some time, back to the scene of their greatest fame for one more shot at victory at the world’s most famous race course.

The SVRA, America’s premier vintage racing organization, is creating a return to competition for the famous drivers with a 40 minute race of American muscle cars on the Speedway’s 2.43-mile Grand Prix road course. The cars for the Pro-Am will be 1967 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of “Group 6,” with an engine displacement limit of 355 cubic inches. The Indianapolis 500 veterans will be paired with amateur drivers, each taking a 20-minute stint.  Five minutes will be allotted for driver change.

Among the popular “500” racers returning to Speedway competition this June are several with all-star credentials. Included in the group of great racers expected to compete are:

Al Unser Jr.: The two time Indy 500 Champ is really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel at his beloved Speedway. Several years ago, the 1992 & ’95 “500” winner was quoted as saying, “To me, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is church!”. Guess that says it all.  Watch out for “Little Al”!

Willie T. Ribbs: Willie started two “500’s” in the ’90’s as be became the first African-American to qualify for the big race. Ribbs, now a pro skeet-shooter, will be using a different kind of weapon when he returns to Indy in June.

Mark Dismore: It’s unfortunate that Dismore may be best remembered for his horrific crash into the end of the pit wall when he was a Speedway rookie, because Dismore was one hell of a racer. In 2001, Mark lead the “500” for 29 glorious laps until encountering mechanical trouble.  Dismore seemed to be in control that day; maybe fate has something better in store for him in his Speedway return this June.

Lyn St. James: The 1992 Speedway Rookie-of-the-Year ran the “500” on seven occasions, scoring an eleventh place finish in 1992. St. James, the second woman to qualify at Indy, should be fun to watch.

Geoff Brabham: The son of legendary Grand Prix Champion Sir Jack Brabham, Geoff scored two top-five finishes in a Speedway career that spanned the years of 1981 thru 1994. If Brabham has unfinished business at Indy, he has one more chance to take care of it. In June.

Johnny Parsons Jr.: The son of 1950 Indy winner Johnnie Parsons enjoyed a Speedway career that included 12 starts and two fifth-place finishes. Johnny’s greatest racing successes came on America’s dirt tracks, but Indy was his first love. Maybe now Johnny Parsons Jr. can earn the Speedway victory he has long sought.

With even more Speedway veterans expected to join the Pro-Am field before June, the “Indy Legends” event is shaping up to be one for the ages. If you’re like me, and revere the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this event is not to be missed. When you win at Indy,
you become a legend; even if you already are one!

Don’t miss it.

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John Atlas is a native of Hammond, IN who has followed auto racing all his life. As a youngster, he has been attending the Indianapolis 500 since the mid-1950's and still reveres the Speedway today. A fan of all types of motorsports, John has attended races from Watkins Glen (at the bog) to the old Ontario Motor Speedway, from Ascot to Pocono. He has a cat named Parnelli and loves the music of Frank Zappa, John gives us a unique view of racing.