Exploring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

As I learned the sport’s history, I noticed few drivers are injured or killed in a sport involving high speed motor vehicles on a narrow track. The answer lies in the drivers training to avoid injury, the specialized garments they wear, and the safety features built into the cars.

words on a building RACING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

The Indianapolis 500 annual car race claims to be the largest single sporting event in the world. On race day, all traffic in Indianapolis is routed toward the Speedway, to accomodate the influx of thousands of people and cars.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum preserves and shares a premier collection of automotive and motor racing vehicles and memorabilia, including racing, classic, and antique passenger cars. In this fun post I’m sharing some photos I took at the Museum, including some personally special cars.

The museum holds 32 Indy 500 first place cars plus other vehicles from NASCAR, Formula One, short-track racing, drag racing, and motorcycles. The Hall of Fame showcases the drivers, team owners and personalities behind the cars and the sport.

This car won the race the year I graduated from high school.

I don’t follow car racing but my husband enjoys watching it on television and we both enjoyed a tour of the museum while in Indianapolis for the Americal Divison Veterans Association Reunion. Raymond is a U.S. Army Veteran who served in the Vietnam War.

a man standing by a blue race car at Indy race museum
Raymond standing by his special car

As I learned the sport’s history, I noticed few drivers are injured or killed in a sport involving high speed motor vehicles on a narrow track. The answer lies in the drivers’ training to avoid injury, the specialized garments they wear, and the safety features built into the cars.

We also visited the Dallara IndyCar Factory, where we learned about Gian Paolo Dallara, founder of Dallara Automobili. Before founding the company, Mr. Dallara worked for Ferrari, Masserati, and Lamborghini.

My favorite car-“The Pink Zink”

A special treat was finding an Indy 500 winner from my hometown, Tulsa Oklahoma. The 1955 Indy 500 winner , “The Pink Zink”, a Kurtis Kraft 500 D, was owned by Tulsa business man John S. Zink, Jr. and driven by Bob Sweikert.

Mr. Zink and his father were visionary businessmen who made fortunes in the oil and gas industry, but also served Oklahoma with their philanthropic contributions.

exploring the HEART of health

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wishing you healthy travels, Doctor Aletha

And if you can’t make it to the Speedway, you can read about it with these affiliate links, which also help support this blog.

“In The Winning Cars of the Indianapolis 500, James Craig Reinhardt, author and official tour guide for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, details the history of the famous race and how the open-wheel race cars have evolved over the last century. Starting in 1911 with the first running of the Indy 500, Reinhardt profiles each race and car, including the starting position, engine, tires, race speed, margin of victory, and much more. Featuring nearly 200 images of the automobiles and individuals who make the race renowned, this book showcases the top drivers and how racing has changed through two world wars, the Great Depression, and unforgettable accidents.”

Exhibits at the museum explain this “split” in the business partnership that founded the speedway. Fortunately, it didn’t destroy either the track or the sport.

“The story begins in 1945, when a businessman from Terre Haute, Indiana named Tony Hulman rescued the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from potential redevelopment. Over the next 75 years, the Hulman-George family used the stature of the Speedway to carve out a powerful position in American auto racing. Stewardship of the IMS often brought the family into conflict with Indy car competitors. A volatile period in the late 1970s resulted in the formation of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), and tensions ramped up even more when Hulman’s grandson, Tony George, assumed power in 1990.

The Split forced Indy car fans, sponsors, broadcasters and participants to choose sides. It created confusion and animosity and caused tremendous damage to the sport. With negotiations driven by legendary racer Mario Andretti and actor/racer Paul Newman, The Split was finally resolved in 2008, only for George to walk away less than three years later from the role he so desperately coveted. The long struggle for stability and leadership was finally resolved in 2020 when Roger Penske acquired IMS and the IndyCar Series.”

Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

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