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7/11/19, 11:55 AM   #16
Re: Let's have some fun - Indianapolis Motor Speedway trivia
ISF
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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We attended the very first NASCAR tire test at The Speedway the Monday after Fathers Day 1992. It was obvious that this test was in preparation of the first Brickyard in 1994. We drove down to Indy from Michigan where we'd attended the NASCAR race up there the day before. The Speedway was expecting just a few hundred people and only opened a section or two of what was then the infield stands behind the pits. Needless to say they had to open up a few more sections. Traffic was backed up both ways trying to get through the south tunnel into the infield. I still have a T-shirt commemorating that very first tire test. The concessionaires ran out of food early on not expecting as large of a crowd as was on hand.

The very first stock car on the track that day in June of '92 was the #2 car of Rusty Wallace. The NASCAR teams pushed the cars from the garage area and Gasoline Alley onto pit road in what later was described as their way of showing respect for the long standing traditions of the open wheel cars at Indianapolis.

We also attended the first Brickyard 400. Those of us who were part of the Indy 500 ticket system got first chance at stock car tickets. The place was packed like we'd never seen it before.

Rick Mast was the pole winner. Rick is a bit of a sad story. He became very sick in '02 or '03 and was forced to quit racing due to what was eventually diagnosed as cumulative carbon monoxide poisoning. Mast was instrumental in implementing the ducting of fresh air to the driver helmet. Mast implored Bill France Jr. to make driver fresh air systems mandatory.

I remember Earnhardt wanted so badly to lead the first lap of the first Brickyard that he hit the wall coming off of turn 4 on the first lap and was never a factor after that. After the race Earnhardt was asked about what it meant to race at Indy and, not surprisingly, he was a bit smug, passing it off as just another race. He sang a different tune the next year when he finally won it. I believe young upstart Jeff Gordon beating Earnhardt for the very first Brickyard victory (among other things) irked Earnhardt 'till his dying day.

The early years of NASCAR at Indy were huge. The crowds were noticeably bigger than for the 500. After the NASCAR bloom went off the rose it's become painfully obvious that NASCAR should never been allowed to race at The Speedway. The Brickyard has become an embarrassment to all involved.
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