For many Verizon IndyCar Series fans, the August 25 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline at Gateway Motorsports Park will be their first look at the redesigned cars – considerably different from what they saw at the inaugural in 2017.
And for many of these fans, this race weekend may also be their first glimpse of the sport’s long and colorful history. Thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Indy Registry (vintageindyregistry.com), more than 20 Indy cars – ranging from the 1930s to the 1980s – will be on display at the Open Wheel Icons pavilion.
Every car has been lovingly and meticulously restored. Many times, these cars were your classic “barn finds," mere dusty shells of their former selves, missing lots of pieces and parts. It takes lots of time, money, skill, research and patience to properly put an Indy car back together but it’s worth the effort. Of course, each one comes with a briefcase full of interesting facts and anecdotes.
One of the more interesting displays is 1930 Indianapolis 500 rookie Shorty Cantlon’s two-man Miller. In those days, a riding mechanic was necessary – and mandatory. Cantlon, of Paris, Illinois, finished second in the 1930 Indianapolis 500 and won $10,000. The car competed at Indianapolis from 1930-1941 and 1946-1947.
One of the many jewels of the Open Wheel Icons display is the 1963 Indianapolis winner of Parnelli Jones. The pearl white No. 98 “Old Calhoun" Watson Roadster was the next-to-last roadster to win at the Brickyard and was reproduced as a popular model AMT car kit, an instant hit with hundreds of thousands of crewcut young boys.
Even if you’ve never watched an auto race, you’ve probably heard the name AJ Foyt. AJ is America’s all-around tough guy motorsports legend – the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500 (four times), the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring. You can see his famed 1971 Coyote Ford at the Open Wheel Icons pavilion.
And these beauties are not just trailer queens – their owners will fire them up and drive them around Gateway’s 1.25-mile oval on Friday and Saturday. It will be a sight to behold.
“The Vintage Indy Registry, which is dedicated to the history and preservation of Indianapolis cars from 1911 to 1997, is pleased to announce its partnership with Gateway Motorsports Park in bringing the iconic cars of Indy past into the present during the Bommarito 500 weekend," said Michael Lashmett of the Vintage Indy Registry. "While INDYCAR continues forward with positive momentum, interest in vintage racing automobiles is rising as well. Thus pairing these two together is a winning combination for all race fans in the greater St Louis area."
INDYCAR truly is an international event. In addition to America's best drivers, the second annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline also draws competitors from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
Tickets for the second annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline may be purchased online at www.gatewaymsp.com or by calling the GMP ticket office at (618) 215-8888. Tickets start at just $35. Kids 15 and under are free (general admission) with a paid adult. Support races include Indy Lights and the Pro Mazda Series. New this year is the addition of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West Gateway Classic 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame on Friday.
Friday, August 24
8 a.m. — Parking lots open.
9a.m. — Spectator gates open.
9:15 a.m. — INDYCAR garage open; Kartplex open.
9-10 a.m. – Vintage Indy Registry Open Wheel Icons practice.
10:15-11:15 a.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series practice.
11:30 a.m.-Noon — Pro Mazda practice.
12:15-1:15 p.m. — Verizon IndyCar Series practice.
1:30-3 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series final practice.
3:15-4 p.m. — Indy Lights practice.
4 p.m. — Coors Light Pole Night opening ceremonies.
4:15-5:15 p.m. — INDYCAR Bommarito Automotive Group 500 qualifying.
5:30-6 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series qualifying.
6:15-7 p.m. — Pro Mazda qualifying.
7:15-7:45 p.m. — Indy Lights qualifying.
8-9 p.m. — Final INDYCAR Bommarito Automotive Group 500 practice.
9 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver introductions.
9:15 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West Gateway Classic 150 presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
Midnight — INDYCAR garage closed; Kartplex closed.
Saturday, August 25
10 a.m. — Parking lots open.
11 a.m. — Spectator gates open; Kartplex open.
Noon-1 p.m. – Vintage Indy Registry Open Wheel Icons.
2 p.m. — Verizon IndyCar Series garage opens.
2:45-3:30 p.m. — Vintage Indy Registry Open Wheel Icons.
3-7 p.m. — Rumble Before the Roar pre-race party.
3-4 p.m. — INDYCAR Bommarito Automotive Group 500 driver autograph session.
3:45 p.m. — Pro Mazda Championship Presented By Cooper Tires race (55 laps).
4:45 p.m. — Indy Lights Presented By Cooper Tires Series race (60 laps).
6 p.m. — INDYCAR Bommarito Automotive Group 500 warm-ups.
7 p.m. — INDYCAR Bommarito Automotive Group 500 pre-race activities.
7:35 p.m. — Command to start engines.
7:40 p.m. — Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline (248 laps, 310 miles, 500k).
9:40 p.m. — Post-race fan invasion and track scavenger hunt.
Schedule is subject to change.
For more information on Gateway Motorsports Park, please call (618) 215-8888 or visit www.gatewaymsp.com. Follow GMP on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.