This reporter became infected by the bug years ago, the malady that makes you stand gape-jawed out in the unforgiving sun for hours while unbelievably fast automobiles zip by on a big oval track. My introduction to the sport was Talladega Superspeedway reputedly the fastest NASCAR track around. Right by the track sits the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, a shrine of sorts, to the importance of sparkplugs in the ultimate scheme of things.
At the museum you can:
- See Richard Petty’s immortal STP Dodge Charger, a car which racked up a record 31 wins and 16 pole positions.
- Revel in the Budweiser Rocket car, the first ground-bound conveyance to bust through the speed of sound. It looks like a red, white, and blue missile and could accelerate from zero to 140 mph in one second (don’t try this at home). Out at Edwards Air Force base back in 1979, the Budweiser Rocket hit 739.999 mph. Zoom, zoom.
- Behold Bill Elliott’s 1985 Thunderbird, winner of the 1985 Winston 500. It covered those 500 miles at a record average speed of 186.288 mph.
Fast cars aren’t confined to the south. Head north, to Indy, and take in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. That’s where you’ll see:
- The inaugural Indy 500 winner, the Marmon Wasp.
- A quartet of cars driven by the legendary A.J. Foyt, including the 1977 machine he piloted to a record-setting fourth Indy win.
Those are just a few of the racers. For those into exotic cars check out:
- A rare 1935 Dusenburg Model JN four-door passenger car, one of just three built.
- An equally rare 1925 McFarlan TV6 passenger roadster.
Putting the Indy 500 into perspective is a viewer-activated computer presentation that lays out the great race throughout the years.
Story by Jerry Chandler
(Image: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum)