Day 85 - Indianapolis Speedway Hall of Fame

Trip Start May 30, 2013
1
85
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Trip End Aug 30, 2013


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Flag of United States  , Indiana
Thursday, August 22, 2013


We broke camp and headed down I-70 to Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  After the usual wrong turn [pulling the trailer and doing a U-turn] and asking for directions - we found the IMS Hall of Fame.  Interestingly enough - access to the Museum is through the tunnel -- under the race track -- into the infield.

The Hall of Fame/Museum is in its own building, has a theater featuring the history of the "500" race, vehicles that raced at the speedway and many of the winners.  It was interesting to see the progression of science, technology and a liberal dose of weird ideas to create many varied winning [and losing] race cars.

It was also interesting that the speedway [and town "Speedway"] was essentially in down town Indianapolis.  The raceway has been running over 100 years and when it was built it was 5 miles out of town.  But now the town has encircled the raceway. 

The story is that Indianapolis was a hot bed of the automobile industry in 1910 but the Indiana roads were so bad that the full potential of the cars could not be tested.  So a dirt track was developed, that was later improved to crushed gravel, dirt and some oil to make a form of blacktop.  After a few races the blacktop was reduced to oily dirt and a very poor racing surface.  The decision was to regrade the track, improve the subsurface and place bricks as the top surface.  Even before races were held, the new track was called "the brickyard".  This surface was rough and was eventually blacktoped where it was the roughest.  In the late 1940's the last of the bricks were paved over -- except for a three foot strip of bricks at the start/finish line.

Originally the track was designed for speeds of 85 mph.  The first 500 mile race was expected to be a 7 hour spectacle.  Soon the track speeds exceeded 100 mph and the speeds eventually reached 240 mph on the track before the limits were put on the engines to reduce speeds to about 220 mph.

About 20 years ago - the speedway was opened up to NASCAR -- the Brickyard 400.  [The speedway was willing to share the raceway but refused to allow any other 500 mile races].  The Museum only had one Nascar racer on display -- it was a #43 driven by Richard Petty. 

The Museum did not have a current Indy car with the body protecting the rear wheels.  Also the nascar hall of fame had many displays of the drivers, safety, mechanics, personalities, and races -- many were interactive.  The IMS hall of fame was more a collection of old but significant race cars with a plaque in front. But it was fun to see the historic cars and review their place in history.

Tomorrow we will visit the living history at Connor Prairie [1836 through the civil war]  -- which is suppose to be the best in the US.   I hope it is better than I-70 in Indiana,  much defective concrete  that is very unpleasant at 70 mph.  I think they hired a highway engineer from New Brunswick - just a thought.
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