Gunners Garage

TALES OF 40 YEARS #34 – HALLOWED GROUND

In 30 years of working at OLD CARS WEEKLY I went to many car museums. I thought all of them were great, but the Indianapolis Motor Speedway “Hall of Fame” was always my favorite. The first time I visited there was actually 1973, when I made my first cross-conutry trip in a dark green ’53 Pontiac seda that I wrote about earlier. At that time the car museum was in the old building on 16th Street and it was very small. By the time I returned in the ’80s as an OLD CARS WEEKLY staff memeber, the current museum was built and it was a fantastic place to soak in automotive history. I got to know museum director Jack Martin quite well, along with photographer Ron McQueeney. I went there many times, including attendance at one Indy 500 and a visit to the pace car doings when the Pontiac Fiero had that honor. In the spring of 2008, before I quit at OLD CARS WEEKLY, I found out the Speedway was looking for someone to do its centennial book. I drove there in another ’53 Pontiac–my yellow Catalina–and visited a fellow named Dan Skiver who was in charge of that project. I told him as how I had come there years earlier in one ’53 Pontiac and that I was now back with another one to clinch a book deal. In the end, we got the contract and I arranged for Ralph Kramer (another former Hall of Fame director) to write that book for OLD CARS WEEKLY. It’s a beautiful hardcover that honors the Speedway’s 100th birthday and it’s sure to be a collector’s item someday. I bought a bunch of copies, because I was very proud to be involved with a book about one of my favorite automotive historic sites. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is simply hallowed ground for any enthusiast.

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