In 1982, my dad and I drove all night in my ‘81 RX-7 to see our first Indy 500. Dad had been a fan of the race since the cars were front engined monsters. They were the Big Indy Cars, comparable to the Merlin powered hydroplanes we had watched race on the Potomac River. By 1982, however, the cars were fairly modern and screamed by our sleepy eyes, almost impossible to see at 200 plus mph from the turn 3 stands. No matter, there is nothing like watching an Indy car at speed in the Indy 500, especially for the first time, and you don’t really have to see the cars to enjoy them. If you haven’t been, you should go. Anyway we experienced Gordon Johncock’s red white and light blue blur beat Rick Mears blur (I think it was blue) on the last lap.

We also watched a fellow stand up in the door of his Volkswagen Beetle and take a leak in the middle of a traffic jam leading to the track. Dad found that amusing. And we watched people cheer for Miss Hurst Golden Shifter Linda Vaughn in the pre-race parade, though my dad thought they were cheering for football star Merlin Olsen in the same car. He said that he never realized Olsen was so popular ! After the race we ate unlimited fried clams under the orange roof of a Howard Johnson’s (restaurant and hotel) in Richmond, Ind.

When you think about it, and I do, the trip had less to do with motorsports and more to do with bonding with my dad for the first time as an adult. My dad passed years ago, but I always enjoy watching the 500 (usually on TV, though I’ve been back many times) and reminiscing. (Geez, I sound like John Boy Walton, who incidentally, had his acting debut in the Indy 500 drama, Winning!)