This year marked the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. It is one of the races in the Triple Crown of Motorsport next to the Monaco GP and 24 hours of Le Mans. The days when drivers competed in all three are long gone but the history is still here for us to remember. The SVRA Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational tries to honor that history and does an amazing job of bringing together over 100 years of it into a single weekend of racing. Everything from the first Indianapolis 500 to Can-Am and Le Mans is represented to create an event that includes nearly every form of motorsport over the century.
Every driver wanted the honor of winning at Indianapolis this year, but more important than a trophy was the milk being handed out during the ceremonies. Truly a once in a lifetime experience that everyone wanted to be a part of. This made for some intense racing and great photos. I’ve never seen such close action in a vintage field. It seemed like every lap was a lead change and cars were being pushed over the limit. I lost count of how many times I saw daylight under one or more tires as the racers jumped curbs trying to shave a few more tenths off the lap.
The paddock access is the best you’ll ever get at Indy. Gasoline Alley was packed full of onlookers checking out the cars as they raced out to the pit lane. Spectators were free to roam in and out of the garages and between cars. Crew and owners would quickly motion for you to come in for a closer look if you stood back for too long. This kind of access to these historic pieces of rolling art is rare and refreshing. The atmosphere was welcoming and teams love talking about the history of the cars. The stories of just one car’s past could fill an entire book on its own. Despite there being a museum on the grounds it felt like the event was a living breathing historical document all on its own.
The SVRA has found a perfect match with Indianapolis. This is one of those events that feels like it should have been here for years although it is still relatively new. The historic significance of the track blends perfectly with the mixtures of classic cars and offers up a unique perspective to the speedway absent of the huge crowds brought out by the 500. The atmosphere makes one think this event could grow into something much bigger in the future. I can’t imagine a better location to celebrate historic racing in North America than Indianapolis Motor Speedway: The Racing Capital of the World.
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