The start of a new day was dominated by an old tradition at the Indy 500 this year, as vintage race cars took to the track for Legend’s Day, honoring Roger Penske.
With cars dating all the way back to the first Indy 500 in 1911, going right through to vehicles from the 1990s, old and new timers alike gathered to ogle the shiny chassis and engines still in mint condition.
Buffed, polished, and fine-tuned by adoring owners, machines including the Kurtis Kraft Bardahl Special, the 1959 Epperley Bowes Seal Fast Special, Huffaker-Offys, Watsons, Eagles, Kuzmas, Penskes, Lolas, and Marches were all on display.
Click on the image below to take a tour of some of the more eye-catching cars.
These cars look like they've come straight out of some old movie I saw as a kid about an around-the-world race. Very cool and very entitling when you look at how far the designs have come in terms of aerodynamics and just pure horsepower.
Great photos, though I also wish that they'd had some caption information.
I was slightly involved with high-end dirt track racing for a while. I'm reminded that many of those early cars were multi-purpose. The cars would run on dirt tracks at 180 mph most of the year. On Memorial Day they were outfitted with different tires and the suspensions were tweaked to run on pavement. The next weekend those cars and drivers were back at the dirt tracks.
Yes, these DN blog slideshow are always so tantalizing, and ultimately so disappointing, since they are tiny pictures that you can't get big versions of, and they come with no supporting data at all. There has to be a better way to put these pictures together for engineering minds, who typically want to know more, more, more.
I also agree that providing more history and background on these vehicles would be interesting. And I am certain that most of the owners could provide a whole lot of words, far more than this blog is intended to support. So there are undoubtedly major logisic ocstacles to implementing that suggestion.
About race car safety: If you want safety, stay at home on your couch and read a dull book!
(at this point I deleted a major rant about safety)
As a lifetime car enthusiast, I find it very interesting to thoroughly look over old race cars on display when attending professional motorsports events. It's fun to see the motor and chassis arrangements from back-in-the-day. The display plaques usually give a nice summary and brief history. I recognize many of the cars, but can't identify them by name.
These pics bring back a lot of memories for me. First, the Indy cars raced at the Dayton Speedway (OH) once a year back in the 50's. It was very exciting to see the speed of these on a 1/2 mile high banked track. Very fast with the drivers head and shoulders above the body of the car. A simple rollover could be fatal. The Sprint cars were slightly smaller and slower than the Indy cars and we saw many a serious injuries and a few deaths in them. It is really great the advancements they have made in driver safety, and the races are still just as exciting.
In the 60's I lived in Indianapolis for a few years, but never made it to a race, but went to many practice sessions and was priviledged to see Jimmy Clark drive. He was breaking in an engine running around the center of the track, out of the groove, doing 150 mph while that pole speed that year was in the 160's. What a great time for open wheel cars.
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