For Indy’s second and final Centennial 500, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Hall of Fame museum had a veritable Treasure Trove of Indy 500 winners on hand; Err, display... Yet, as we made our visit the day after the B-I-G race, I was somewhat ‘Bummed to discover that ALL of the Penske Racing I500 chassis had been removed from the museum for a Team Penske Photo-shoot at an undisclosed location... As the absence of 15 winning Racecars, many emblazoned in the storied ‘BAD HABITS red & white livery of Marlboro (“Smokey Smokes”) made for a substantially devoid display, as the museum simply looked somewhat disingenuous with the multiple gaps of empty spaces between the various rows of Indy “Greats” on hand.
And Juan ‘O the troubles of not jotting down your memories immediately, is that by the time you get ‘round to scribbling them some seven months later is... Yuhs guessed IT! They’re gone; URGH!
“The Gasman’s” (Tom Sneva) 1983 Indy 500 winning Texaco Star (DOB Photos)
Oh, yeah, have I mentioned to Y’all lately that you’re humble No Fenders scribe is legally blind and henceforth travels with his white “Joystick,” aka cane, which is what apparently caused all of the attention from the museum staff, eh? For more upon this visually impaired ‘Vurd Botcheror, Y’all can SEE the post below...:
Otay, ‘nuff of ‘Dat, but what about the museum Yuhs say? Whale, as always; even though the ‘Usual Suspects were on hand and it was another very pleasurable visit, I always eagerly await discovering which new IndyCar chassis will be on display for me to see during my once-a-year visits
Thus the gala ‘O previously unseen treasures started off with a pair ‘O my favourites, as there were not one, but two Johnny Lightning Specials! Of which I’ve not paid close enough attention too... Since I always thought that the 1970-71 chassis ‘BIG AL (Unser Sr.) drove to consecutive victories was the same car... But just having read Thee ‘Dom of IMS - nee Donald Davidson’s Indy 500 bible, (Haven’t Y’all gotten yours yet?)
I’ve discovered that the ’71 Johnny Lightning Special was a new chassis based off of the prior year’s model with its most distinguished difference being short nose wings on it vs. its predecessor...
And the whole confusion over the two VJM Colt-Fords’s led me onto a whole nuther ‘lather - pickle via la ‘Interwoods, or what Grizzled ‘Journoe Joe Saward just coined as the WZ... Over a previously never heard of before ’68 Johnny Lightning Special; Hmm? But I’ll save that story for another day instead, (since its fermenting in the NoFendersville story hopper right now) and hence back to the Memorybanks instead, with just a few assorted ‘Tails below.
‘Carpets took an up-close pic of a ‘Kiwi nose - which I believe was Nose of LoneStar JR’s (Johnny Rutherford) 1974 McLaren M16...
(No. 48: 1975 Jorgeson Eagle; Bobby Unser)
Without a doubt, this has to be my All-time favourite ‘Uncle Bobby winner, as I simply find this All American Racers (AAR) Eagle/’OFFY (Offenhauser) to be ‘Juan of Dan Gurney’s most beautiful chassis. Not to mention being my Bobby Unser favourite, albeit I’m smitten by the Igloo-white Olsenite Special and his Risoline Special too...
(No. 3: 1992 Galmer/Chevrolet; Al Unser, Jr.)
This is the car that made ‘lil Al (Al Unser Jr.) famous... Whale, sorta, as I think he actually bolted to national prominence back in ’89 when he gave ‘EMMO his double thumbs UP gesture to the race winning Brazilian; not to be Cornfuzed with giving ex-boss Billy Bob Brazenheartz a double Byrd salute like; Oh Never Mind!
And this Valvoline liveried Galmer holds another ‘Hook in my steadily growing Indy lore. As the Galmer was utilized one year later by “Seattle-lite” Dominic Dobson as the springboard to the future winning PacWest Racing Team...
(No. 5: 1983 Texaco Star; Tom Sneva)
If you’ve ever read this blog, then you’ll know that “The Gasman,” aka Tom Sneva is a sentimental favourite ‘O mines... As the Schoolteacher from
Spokane, DONE GOOD! Having won the 67th running of the Memorial Day classic after having sparred with Al Unser Sr’s unofficial Wingman; son and rookie competitor ‘lil Al en route to chuggin’ some ‘Buttermilk in Victory lane... Washington
(No. 14: 1999 Dallara/Aurora; Kenny Brack)
This car totally caught me off guard - as I totally expected Thee Brackster’s 1999 winner, a car I’d never seen before to be painted black... Simply expecting it to be in ‘Ol SuperTex’s traditional black colours ‘O longtime Tobacco sponsor
, right? Copenhagen
Having tuned OUT of ‘Ye Greatest Spectale after that most memorable Quip ‘bout Eddie Who? At the grocery store after Cheever’s Rachel’s Potater Chip-mobile had left the cashier totally Clueless! I failed to watch the following year’s I500 telecast, as I guess I musta watched the end of the ’98 classic. Hence I was ultra surprised to see the Swede’s car in a “Lighter shade ‘O Grey;” Uhm? Pearlesant white? Whale all I know is it AIN’T black!
Yet the more time flies by, the more I recall laughing myself SILLY over thee ‘DirtMann’s, nee Robby ‘Gordoun (Gordon) demise when running outta fuel with a precocious two-laps remaining, thus I must have watched the ’99 Indy up to that point, albeit I really don’t recall seeing thee ‘Brackster win - or receive the victor’s laurels nor drinking of milk... Perhaps ‘Somme-thun to do with my total disgust over AJ’s reverence towards ‘lil Napoleon (Tony George) and the Hulman’s?
(No. 1: 1960 Leader Card 500 Roadster; Jim Rathman)
Its funny how I keep mixing up this car with two-time Indy 500 winner Roger Ward, (1959, and 1962) as it’s actually the car that Jim Rathman drove to victory that year in what has been described as the best all-time 1-2 sustained duel for eventual victory in
VIDEO: 1960 INDY 500 Highlights
Yet its funny how our tastes change as we all get old-ER, right? As although I’d be hard pressed to pick against any of the rear engine machinery as my favourites, nevertheless on this day’s ‘Walkabout, it was a front engine Roadster no less that stole my heart! As I found the aqua blue, which reminds me of Ford’s ’69 winter blue hue Watson Roadster perched in the museo’s entrance normally where the Marmon Wasp is located to be my hands down Numero Uno favourite chassis on display that day! As you simply have to marvel at the simplicity of these cars, along with their sleek lines devoid of the clutter of today’s rolling billboards...
To continue reading, see; IMS Hall of Fame museum – 2012 visit
(All Photos Courtesy of No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS)