Indy 500 Looks Ahead to It’s Centennial

First diesel engine at Indy.

The 100th Indy 500 race is scheduled to take place on May 29, 2016. While the first Indianapolis 500 took place in 1911, there was no racing during World War I and World War II. As a result, the 2016 race will be the 100th.

Race weekend will kick off on Friday, May 27 with the legendary rock band Journey presenting a concert that will be free with Miller Lite Carb Day admission of $30. The Speedway says that VIP viewing options and packages will also be available and announced at a later date.

To hype the 100th Indy 500, the Speedway Hall of Fame was at the Performance Racing Industry show at the Indiana Convention Center where it presented “Evolution of the Indy Car: An Exhibition of Speed” and showcased six significant racing cars: 1914 (Sunbeam), 1931 (Cummins Duesenberg Diesel Car), 1938 (Sampson 16-Cylinder Special), 1967 (Dean Van Lines Brawner Hawk), 1984 (Texaco Star March/Cosworth and 2000 (Pennzoil Panther Dalara).

The 1931 Cummins Diesel car.
1967 Dean Van Lines Special.

Driver Harry Grand piloted the green 1914 Sunbeam in the 1914 and 1915 Indy 500s. The Cummins-sponsored 1931 racing car—a Duesenberg—was the first diesel-powered car to enter the 500. The Sampson “16” Special had a 183-cid 16-cylinder Sampson engine and also raced in 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1946. Mario Andretti’s chief mechanic Clint Brawner built the Dean Van Lines Special that Andretti used to capture his second consecutive pole position in 1967.

With 740 hp the 1968 Texaco Star was a fast Indy car. Driver Tom Sneva turned in four progressively faster qualifying laps in this car with the fastest clocked at 210.689 mph. The Cosworth DFW engine won the Indy 500 for 10 consecutive years 1978-1987. IndyCar champ Sam Hornish, Jr. drove the Pennzoil Panther when he won his 2001 and 2002 Indycar series titles.

1984 Texaco Star.

The Hall of Fame also hosted an appearance of the Borg Warner trophy and an interview style talk with legendary driver Bobby Unser who gave may recollections and personal insights of racing in years gone by.

Borg Warner trophy.
Hall of Fame timeline included historic racing photos.
2000 Pennzoil Panther.
Bobby Unser signed autographs.
About John Gunnell 143 Articles
John “Gunner” Gunnell has been writing about cars since ‘72. As a kid in Staten Island, N.Y., he played with a tin Marx “Service Garage” loaded with toy vehicles, his favorite being a Hubley hot rod. In 2010, he opened Gunner’s Great Garage, in Manawa, Wis., a shop that helps enthusiasts restore cars. To no one’s surprise, he decorated 3G’s with tin gas stations and car toys. Gunner started writing for two car club magazines. In 1978, publisher Chet Krause hired him at Old Cars Weekly, where he worked from 1978-2008. Hot rodding legend LeRoi “Tex” Smith was his boss for a while. Gunner had no formal journalism training, but working at a weekly quickly taught him the trade. Over three decades, he’s met famous collectors, penned thousands of articles and written over 85 books. He lives in Iola, Wis., with his nine old cars, three trucks and seven motorcycles.

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