May 26, 2010
|Remembering the 1953 Milwaukee Mile
Today was Community Day at the Speedway, a day when local folks are allowed to take the family car out for a spin around the track. Unfortunately track rules draw the line at motorhomes. :-(
We walked over in the afternoon and spent several hours checking out the activities. Some drivers were scheduled to do autograph sessions, but the lines were long and stretched out a hundred yards in the glaring sun. Nobody’s signature is worth that.
But there was one activity worth the walk. It was a chance to go out on Pit Lane and see it close up. Teams have moved their fuel tanks to the pits now and it’s starting to look like it does for the race. I had the opportunity to talk to one man about the cars and the fuel and he was very friendly and informative. To make Pit Lane even more interesting there were a number of old race cars on display, turning Pit Lane into Memory Lane for just a while.
One car that blew me away was Jack McGrath’s old race car from the fifties. It had finished fifth at Indy in 1953 and then won the Milwaukee Mile race the next week. I was at that race and I watched Jack McGrath win it nearly a half century ago. To see that car again, and to relive those memories was 'Priceless!'.
These cars are not the ones we’d seen in the Indy Hall of Fame Museum last year, but were cars owned by individuals who had restored them and loaned them to the track for the day. Madolyn found one that had been driven by Johnny Parsons, a driver she knows, and who drove for her and Sam when they were racing in the '70's.
From Pit Lane we went into the Paddock where a lot of the current cars were on display, in various stages of assembly. On the back row of garages a huge red transporter was unloading Indy Lite cars for Friday’s race. They are slightly smaller than their big brothers and sisters, and they have less power. The Indy Lite Series is a proving ground for up and coming drivers, and the race should be a good one.
Hot Wheels had an exhibit where kids could pick cars and race them side by side, and Izod had a big trailer that had a lot of interesting racing information. We ended the day by buying some driver pins, then we retreated to our air conditioned motorhome to get out of the heat.
Tomorrow is a big day. The Indy Lite cars will be on the track practicing, and our friends Gary Smith and Pam Grissom are arriving from California. It will be good to see them again!