By J. Douglas Boles
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 9, 2011 – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the place to be this month for anyone crazy about cars of all shapes, sizes and eras.
IMS will play host to an unprecedented series of unique, one-of-a-kind events providing fans an extraordinary opportunity to learn about and cherish great automobiles as the Indianapolis 500 celebrates its 100th anniversary. Nearly 1,000 vehicles will be featured throughout this month at these events.
All of these events are included in the price of admission for their respective display days except for the special exhibit of Indianapolis 500-winning cars in the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.
•67 Indy-winning cars: This salute to great cars began when the largest collection of Indianapolis 500-winning cars ever assembled exhibit opened to the public in March at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.
This incredible exhibit, which will be on display through June 1, provides fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see 67 winning cars, representing 71 Indianapolis 500 victories. Among many other noteworthy winning cars on display, each winning car driven by the three four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears, are showcased in the exhibit. The display includes the 31 winning cars owned by the IMS Hall of Fame Museum and 36 privately owned cars that have been loaned for this unique display.
Museum admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youths 6-15, with under 6 free.
•Celebration of Automobiles: More than 250 classic cars will be on display Saturday, May 14 during the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 Celebration of Automobiles. Many of these machines have won awards in Concours d’Elegance competition at such revered venues as Pebble Beach and Amelia Island.
The cars are divided into two divisions, one a general collection and the other presenting for the first time anywhere classic cars produced by the 24 manufacturers that competed in the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 1911. A preview of the cars to be displayed can be found in the official IMS blog at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.
A team of judges headed by 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones will reveal its choices for the best of show in several categories at the elegant Condon-Skelly Celebration of Automobiles dinner May 14, where several exquisite trophies will be presented to winning car owners.
The Marmon and Stutz Clubs also will have their collections of classic automobiles on display May 14 at IMS, numbering more than 100 additional cars. A collection of vintage racers also will be showcased, including 1950s roadsters, early rear-engine cars from the 1960s and race cars through the 1970s to the present day.
•Pace Car Reunion: The 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Reunion will take place on Pole Day/Tom Carnegie Day, Saturday, May 21 and Bump Day/IMS Armed Forces Day on Sunday, May 22. The event will return more than 250 Pace Cars dating back to 1911 to IMS in the greatest collection of Indianapolis 500 Pace Cars in history.
From 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Pole Day, the Pace Cars will be staged for a “Fans Choice” vote to take place. The cars will also be on display in the infield from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 22.
As an added attraction, car clubs featuring muscle cars, exotics and more will provide fans plenty of eye candy.
•Vintage sprints, midgets: During A.J. Foyt Day on Saturday, May 28, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will feature a display of vintage sprint and midget cars of the past driven by the greatest names of Indy lore: Foyt, Andretti, Unser, Rutherford and more.
•Winning drivers, winning cars: Eleven Indianapolis 500 winners will drive iconic winning cars of the “500” during pre-race ceremonies Sunday, May 29 for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.
1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones will provide one of the highlights of the day when he drives the No. 32 Marmon “Wasp” that won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911 with Ray Harroun. It will be only the third time the car has been driven on the famed IMS oval on Race Day since Harroun crossed the finish line in 1911.
A comprehensive list of participants, with the years of their victories and the cars they will drive on Race Morning: Parnelli Jones (1963): The No. 32 Marmon “Wasp” that won in 1911 with Ray Harroun; Kenny Brack (1999): The No. 9 Target G Force/Oldsmobile that won in 2000 with Juan Pablo Montoya; Gil de Ferran (2003): The No. 66 Sunoco McLaren that won in 1972 with Mark Donohue; Tom Sneva (1983): The Belond Salih/Offy that won in 1957 with Sam Hanks and 1958 with Jimmy Bryan; Mario Andretti (1969): The Boyle Maserati that won in 1939 and 1940 with Wilbur Shaw; Arie Luyendyk (1990, 1997): The No. 30 Domino’s Pizza Lola/Chevrolet Indy in which Luyendyk won in 1990. Luyendyk averaged 185.981 mph, which stands as the race record; Bobby Rahal (1986): The No. 14 Miller that won in 1928 with Louis Meyer; Johnny Rutherford (1974, 1976, 1980): The No. 4 Pennzoil Chaparral/Cosworth in which Rutherford won in 1980; Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987): The No. 82 Lotus-Ford that won in 1965 with Jim Clark; Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994): The Blue Crown Spark Plug Diedt/Offy that won in 1947 and 1948 with Mauri Rose; Bobby Unser (1968, 1975, 1981): The No. 8 National that won in 1912 with Joe Dawson.
•1911 Indy 500 cars: A collection of five cars from the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911 and the famous “Blitzen Benz” will be driven on the famous IMS oval during pre-race ceremonies Sunday, May 29.
•Current race cars: The stars of the Indianapolis 500 will be on track at 225-plus mph for 11 days this month, including practice, qualifying and the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.
Practice is scheduled Saturday, May 14 through Friday, May 20, with qualifying May 21-22. Miller Lite Carb Day final practice is Friday, May 27, with Race Day Sunday, May 29.
The future stars of the sport will be on display in the Firestone Freedom 100 for Firestone Indy Lights. Practice and qualifying are scheduled for Thursday, May 26, with the race Friday, May 27.
2011 Indianapolis 500 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500, “The Most Important Race in History,” on Sunday, May 29, 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Race Day ticket prices start at just $30. Fans can buy tickets online at www.imstix.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Children 12 and under will be receive free general admission to any IMS event in 2011 when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.
The 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 starts at noon (ET) May 29. Live coverage on ABC and the IMS Radio Network -XM 94/Sirius 212 starts at 11 a.m.