A BIT OF INDY MAGIC

Author

admin

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

A BIT OF INDY MAGIC

Gordon Kirby

THE WEATHER WAS GLORIOUSLY HOT FOR THIS YEAR’S 100TH anniversary running of the Indianapolis 500. After days of rain and uncommonly cool, overcast skies, the sun and humidity burst forth on race day and what a race we had! Furiously fought all the way, it turned into a game of fuel strategy at the end. Scoff Dixon and Dario Franchiffi in Chip Ganassi’s pair of first-team cars controlled most of the race, collectively leading 134 laps. But in the closing laps they were forced to drastically conserve fuel, falling to firth and 12th as an epic drama unfolded around them.

There in the lead with three laps to go was rookie J RHildebrand, the 2009 Indy Lights champion, in John Barnes’ Panther DallaraHonda. Trying hard to chase him down was the man he replaced Dan Wheldon, 2005 Indy winner with Michael Andreffi’s team, making a one-off appearance this year in Bryan Herta’s car.

Going into the last lap it looked like Hildebrand had the race in his pocket and he maintained a clear cushion over Wheldon down the backstretch into turns three and four. The crowd began to stir, cheering on this talented young American driving a car sponsored by the National Guard. But disaster struck in Turn 4 as Hildebrand tried to lap Charlie Kimball. He ran wide, got onto the marbles at the top of the groove, and in a flash he was in the wall.

Hildebrand’s car skated along the wall, and with his foot hard in the throffle JR drove the wreckage down to the chequered flag. But halfway there, before the yellow light blinked, Wheldon (above) was by and across the line first, a highly emotional winner. It was a great day for Wheldon and Herta’s young team. After finishing second at Indy in the last two years, and then losing his ride, Wheldon was delighted to show himself at his best at the Speedway and Herta hopes to put a full programme together for the 33-year-old Briton in 2012. Herta’s team has been contracted by IndyCar to run the initial testing programme for next year’s much-anticipated new Dallara-Honda. After showing his stuff

at Indy, Wheldon surely will be the test driver, so Dan has a tremendous opportunity to rejuvenate his flagging career.

Beyond a great race, the Hoosier heartland spring day also brought many rounds of nostalgia celebrating the race’s 100th anniversary. One of these events was a lap of the track by a line of the Speedway museum’s Indy-winning cars, led by 1963 winner Parnelli Jones aboard Ray Harroun’s 1911 Marmon Wasp. Parnelli waved as I walked up. He was very moved and honoured by the experience of driving the Marmon, and I left him to concentrate on his job and walked over to the next man and car.

It was my old friend Bobby Unser aboard Joe Dawson’s 1912 National. We chaffed briefly, smiles all round. Next was another familiar face, Mario Andreffi siffing proudly in Wilbur Shaw’s Boyle Maserati, the 1939-40 winner. Then came Tom Sneva aboard one of the Blue Crown Specials, winners in 1947-49.

Kenny Brack was in Sam Hanks’ superb Belond Exhaust Special laydown’ Salih-Offy roadster. Beside him was Al Unser Sr in a gleaming green and yellow Lotus-Ford 38, the twin to Jim Clark’s 1965 winner. Then came Gil de Ferran aboard Mark Donohue’s Sunoco McLaren M16C-turbo Offy, a real monster and Penske’s first of 15 Indy winners. The line was completed by three-time winner Johnny Rutherford aboard his 1980-winning Chaparral 2K-turbo Cosworth, and Arie Luyendyk in his ’91 winner, the Domino’s Pizza Lola-Cosworth T91/00 he drove for Doug Shierson.

The Speedway’s mechanics pushed Parnelli’s Marmon into life. PJ took off onto the track to a resounding roar from the crowd. Unser followed him in the big black National, chased by the rest.

It was the most wonderful morning I’ve had at the Speedway. Making my way back through the packed grid I encountered many old friends and we reminisced, everyone in grand spirits. There followed an excellent race with a remarkable ending. It was a fiffing close to a memorable 100th anniversary Indy 500.

You may also like

Related products