Ladies and gentlemen … start your engines! For the first time since 1950, local race fans will be able to watch the Indianapolis 500 live.
As a number of CarDon & Associates communities host Porch Parties throughout May in celebration of the race, we’d like to share more of their stories and memories about the Indianapolis 500!
Tommy Hausz – Maintenance Director at Brown County Health & Living
I have been in the garage area every year and the suites and pit lane for the past 10 years. I have taken a ride in the two-seater Davey Hamilton drove. We went 215 mph for six laps, which was pretty cool! I’ve sat in every corner of the track, and I’ve walked on the track and kissed the yard of bricks. My wife’s cousin, Barry Waddel, spots for Chip Ganassi. That same cousin lived next door to Dan Weldon, and was in the helicopter and at the hospital with Dan when he passed away. My favorite memories were when A.J. Foyt retired; my driver Al Sr. won; meeting Richard Petty and Rusty Wallace; and going to the victory celebration with Dave Wilson and sitting a table away from Roger Penske, and later meeting him.
Beth Van Vorst Gray – Resident at Bell Trace Senior Living
From time immemorial until Tony Hulman’s death in 1977, a group of men known as “Tony’s Army” volunteered as security guards on weekends during the month of May. They were doctors, lawyers, bricklayers, factory workers, businessmen, college kids and some state employees (as was my first husband). They were a key factor in running an operation such as the 500, since paid employees to perform all of the safety functions would be cost-prohibitive.
These men (and there were, indeed, all men) directed traffic, assisted with first-aid emergencies, and policed the infield (hazardous duty — especially in the area known as the “snake pit”). There was great camaraderie among these men; recruitment was by referral of an existing “soldier” ONLY, and all had the luxury of the “ear” of a very important man in Indiana. Tony hosted a pig roast for them at the swimming pool at his home and, though legendary, not much is known of the activities. What happens in Hulmanville remains in Hulmanville.
Volunteering, by the way, has always been a strength of Indianapolis; Mayor Lugar continued this tradition and, to this day, many of the amateur and professional organizations have large volunteer pools to fund raise, assist at events and act as ambassadors to tourists.
During the years my former husband served in this capacity (1958-1966), I was, of course, home having and raising wonderful babies. I did attend “Carburetion Test Day” (remember carburetors?) every year with my children but seldom on race day. However, I did manage while in college before I was married and during this time to attend probably 12 races. I lost my appetite for racing when, in 1964, Eddie Sachs was killed in a 500 race and the up-and-coming Bobby Marshman was killed in November 1964. I met them on several occasions while they were promoting their race car and keying in on the then-popular “Car 54, Where Are You?” TV comedy series. My husband, a civil engineer, accompanied them on several appearances across the state that were coordinated by his professional society. Full of life, fun, and open to adventure, they were missed by many, but very sharply by me. I attended several races after that, but it was never the same.
Steve Medlock – Resident at Solarbron
Steve Medlock and his family loved the Indy 500. His dad worked in wholesale and received tickets each year. Steve, his dad and brother went each year on “Bump Day.” His mom would get up early in the morning and make homemade fried chicken, bean salad and tea for race day. She would pack everything up and put it in the trunk of the car. They always parked infield, and when lunchtime came, they would unpack all of mom’s great food and enjoy the race. They started this family tradition in the 60s and continued for the next 10 years.
Since those days, Steve’s father and brother have passed away. It is his dream to do a ride-along around the track one more time with this picture of him and his family in his pocket.