A Walk Through Indy History

Speedway, IN – As I write this, Bobby Unser is giving a rambling interview to a radio man here in the Media Center of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. An interview that moves from Indy Cars returning to Pocono this summer, to the days of dangerous racing at the old killer dirt mile called Langhorne. “You’d have to be on drugs to like that place,” the senior Unser brother opined.

Parnelli Jones, “Old Rufus”, was eating lunch in the Honda hospitality compound at noon, and newly-qualified Charlie Kimball ate at the next table.

Roger Penske here, Dario, Mario and Rick over there. Here a driver, there a celebrity; on and on.

It’s Indianapolis in May, and you don’t need credentials to walk around and have a meet and greet with the living, breathing history of the 500; it’s everywhere.

Visit the museum with its incredible display of Indy cars and the Hall of Fame, located between turns 1-2 in the infield just through the tunnel off 16th St. Take a narrated mini-bus tour around track. Browse the Museum gift shops and you’ll find many reasons to get your credit card out.

Walk around the inner track fence on a hot practice day and if the cars are running and the breeze is cool, you’ll see where Emmo passed Al Junior for the win over there and Parnelli’s STP turbine that quit right here. Take a good look at the south short-chute and turn one. Sato vs. Franchitti-2012 and Sullivan vs. Mario-1985 both happened here and gave us memories that will live on forever.

Play a round of golf on the Brickyard Crossing course while you’re here. It’s a Pete Dye re-designed eighteen that features four infield holes.

Step outside the track and walk over to Charlie Browns for breakfast; it’s on Main Street in Speedway (the town, not the track) just outside of turn one. Sarah Fisher’s new shop is just across the street and so is the new Dallara race car facility. And don’t forget to make your way south to 10th street and walk a few blocks west to the Mug and Bun. It’s a vintage drive-in with great root beer and burgers.

If you are able stay for a few days when the track is open, bronze badges are on sale through the Speedway for fans to use during May. They will get you into the IMS grounds and the Gasoline Alley garage area for every practice and time trial day including Carb Day; but not race day. The price of $100 is reasonable for the access the badges afford, and the walking history is something an Indy race fan (even kids over a certain age) can’t experience anywhere else in the world. Pre-ordering through the IMS web site is strongly suggested.

Visit the track sometime and enjoy!

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