Many publications will list the INDY 500 Museum among the top 10 car guy things to do. That is a difficult list to make. I have been to a lot of car guy happenings and places; I have loved most of them and have no idea how to rank them. As many as I have been to I am sure there are 100 more I haven’t been to for every one I have. Some really stand out and others are just neat things to do and see. The INDY 500 Museum is great but to put it in the top ten of all things is difficult to do. However, you also need to remember that they, like most museums, are constantly turning the display with different cars.
Is it worth a visit if you are in the area? Absolutely. If you are there for race weekend and comeback some other time to visit the museum, do it. On the 500 weekend it is a zoo everywhere. If you only get to Indy once then absolutely go no matter when you are there.
The following are just a few of the highlights on our last visit in 2007. It was a race weekend and the crowds were not too bad because we went early in the weekend.
Chills went down my back when I laid eyes on this racer. Rodger Ward was one of my Legends when I was a kid. I met him once and have his autograph on a diecast of this winning car. I also met his brother once and was told how they built the car in their small wood garage on Holt Boulevard in Ontario, California. It was just off of the downtown and City Hall complex on the north side of the street. It has since been unceremoniously knocked down to make room for more condos! I am sure it is better for the City but it is heritage that is lost and a small museum that never will be. The Summers Brothers Goldenrod 4 engined Bonneville Land-speed Record holder was also built just down the street and it too is unrecognized for what it is.
What’s an INDY 5oo Museum without a Pace Car? This one is from 1961.
Another Legend in everyone’s book has to be AJ Foyt! I was there, at INDY when AJ was the first to win 4 INDY 500s. It was a thrill I will never forget. I also remember sitting on the straight of way one year when AJ was not having a good day. We happened to be right across the track from Foyt’s pit. AJ pulled in with car trouble; the pit crew swarmed around the car but that wasn’t good enough for him. He undid his belts, jumped out of the car grabbed a HAMMER and started flailing on the engine! Of course it didn’t run any better but I am sure he felt better. When he was done expressing himself he threw down the hammer and walked back to the Garage, his day was over.
I love Corvettes and there are a lot of Corvette Legends, this is one of my very favorites.
It’s not just about the INDY 500 anymore, now there is the Brickyard 400 and sometimes even a Formula One race.
Most of the old school INDY 500 drives and a few of the NASCAR guys worked there way up in cars like this. Tony Stewart owns this one.
It’s not the money; it’s the trophy! This is the best trophy I have ever seen.