tech1With its current Dallara DW12 spec chassis about to take part in its fifth Indy 500, IndyCar president of competition Jay Frye spoke on the series' plans to commission a replacement as it looks toward the future.

In an interesting and unexpected connection, Frye says the fate of IndyCar's aero kits, which are expected to be abandoned for 2017, will dictate the timeline for introducing a new Indy car chassis.

2016Indy500 MarshallPruett 522 800"We have to get a better understanding of where we're going forward with the aero kits first," Frye (right) told RACER. "Think of it this way, too: One of the biggest things the series needs is another OEM partner. If you are an OEM wanting to come in now, you have to go design your own aero kit, you have to go do your own engine. It is a daunting task. It is usually expensive and it will take a lot of time. But is that the best way for us to go?

"Looking forward, we have to define that model of what an OEM needs to do before we can put dates and times on a calendar to say, 'We'll do a new chassis here,' or anything else that's different to today's product."

With IndyCar considering a move from individual, manufacturer-designed aero kits to a new, common set of bodywork for all OEMs to use, Frye and his technical team would then be able to engage Chevy, Honda, and any new manufacturers on where the series might take its chassis and engine concepts in the future.

"If, aero kit wise, it was a different solution so that another OEM could come in quicker because of more standardized rules that we've come up with, it would be easier to sell, I believe," Frye added. "Here it is, here's the way to go do it, here's the approach, and it wouldn't be a road block to coming into the series if [a manufacturer] doesn't want to do a big aero kit project."

2016Indy500 MarshallPruett 517 054Although Frye wouldn't elaborate on the topic, it appears the series' engine formula could be under review in the interest of enticing more manufacturers.

"On the engine side, there are some ways we could come up with a solution there," he added. "If you look at our engine programs right now, they're built for this series. That's all they do. That is something we have to look at very hard because, again, there are big goals on where we are going. We've got a couple of OEMs that are curious and interested. So this is part of that plan too is if we can make the point of entry much less complicated and difficult, they will come or it would be easier for them to come in.

Asked if IndyCar would consider opening its 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 formula to allow other small-displacement turbos from other series – Global Rallycross, for example – Frye wasn't completely opposed to the idea.

"As long as you have the right rules and regulations in place where everybody can compete fairly at the same level, even though [the engines] are different," he said. "Again, that would be probably more complicated right now, but is it possible? Sure."

2016Indy500 MarshallPruett 521 144b 2 10428 900 506 80 c

Frye also said Chevy and Honda have been supportive of IndyCar's unspecified approach to bringing in a third or fourth manufacturer.

"They've both been great," Frye continued. "This is part of that too. Our OEM partners are both willing to look at the rules and any changes if it will bring more OEMs into IndyCar. They understand the importance of that. Yes, we have longer-term agreements with the configurations we have now, but both have said they are willing to look at changes if it helps us to become more than two [manufacturers] and makes sense cost wise.

"Or, the engines could stay just the way they are. I don't think the engine formula would have to be too different, but we need to decide what we're going to do sooner rather than later if it's going to be different.

"We want to make sure we are doing the right thing. It's like the aero kit question. We are acquiring all the data and knowledge we can, and if we have to suggest something different, we will. It is the same thing with the engines."

2016Indy500 MarshallPruett 516 1001b 10424 900 506 80 cIt's hard to say whether Dallara's DW12 will be replaced in 2018, 2019, or even later. It's also unclear whether IndyCar will go with a single supplier and stay with its spec design practices. But whenever the next Indy car chassis appears, it could, according to Frye, include a higher state of technology in the cockpit, engine bay, and drivetrain department.

"We'd be open to look at any new technology, any kind of new ideas," he said. "I think that as a series we have to be like that – continue to grow and continue to get better. Who knows over the next five years what is going to happen in the automotive world? There are new things coming out every day.

"I think we are in a position right now where we have the ability to try new things and to adapt quickly if we need to. There's no reason not to. I have an open mind about it."

LAT levitt I500 29891Welcome to's live report from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Check back throughout the day for updates.

1:21 pm: Extraordinary! Stoneman gets a run on Jones around the back of the circuit and they run through the last two corners side-by-side. They're still line astern on the run to the checker, and Stoneman wins by just 0.0024s. What a finish.

1:20pm: Piedrahita ran into the back of Stoneman on the run to the line on the restart! Piedrahita falls back, while Jones passes Stoneman into Turn 1 ...

1:17pm: Having now seen a replay of Choi's accident, he's lucky not to have sustained more damage - he lost it all by himself in Turn 1 and bounced off the wall. Meanwhile, Dalton Kellett clipped the wall on the main straight and touched Jones, although they appeared to have gotten away with it. Restart next time around; one-lap shootout.

1:15 pm: Yellow for Heamin Choi, who has stopped on the inside of Turn 2. Just as that happened, Stoneman and Piedrahita had gone through the first two corners side-by-side, but Stoneman remains in the lead. With four laps to go, will there be enough time for a restart?

1:14 pm: Stoneman is back in front, but the guy to watch is Piedrahita, who is on a charge - he just took second from Jones, and nearly got past Stoneman at the same time. Five laps to go.

1:13 pm: Back to green, and Jones gets the jump on Stoneman and takes the lead into Turn 1. Piedrahita thinks he has half a chance of getting past Stoneman as well, but Stoneman closes the door.

1:11pm: Caution to rescue Santi Urrutia's car from the track - he had a huge spin, but fortunately, he went towards the infield rather than up into the wall. Doesn't look like there was any damage.

1:07 pm: Jones is back in front - and as we type that, Stoneman reclaims the lead. There's been a position change immediately behind them too, where Juan Piedrahita has taken third from Blackstock.

1:03 pm: Zachary Claman de Melo and Andre Negrao are both in the pits with assorted problems. No such drama up at the front, where it's still Stoneman leading from Jones and Blackstock.

12:58 pm: Stoneman leads again with Jones right on his tail. Shelby Blackstock is up to P3, and Veach is making a liar of us by staying out on track. That said, he has dropped to 10th. Meanwhile, Kyle Kaiser has been checked and released from the medical center.

12:55 pm: Jones is back past Stoneman again, but the more interesting stuff is happening right behind them, where Zach Veach is battling Enerson for second. The pair made contact, and Enerson has pitted for repairs. We'd be surprised if Veach doesn't follow him in sometime soon.

12:54 pm: Stoneman back into the lead, and Enerson follows him past Jones for second. There are still 30 laps to go.

12:52 pm: Restart on lap 7, and Stoneman gets past Serralles. A couple of corners later he takes the lead from Jones, and then loses it again almost immediately. Now he's running side-by-side with RC Enerson. 

12:48 pm: The Indy Lights Freedom 100 is underway - and under yellows. The first attempted start was waved off, the race went green at the second attempt, and then went yellow again when Kyle Kaiser snagged the Turn 4 wall at the end of the first lap. Ed Jones currently leads from Felix Serralles and Dean Stoneman.


12:10 pm: And that's it. The checkered flag waves, and Tony Kanaan's 226.280mph remained unbeaten. Carlos Munoz was second-fastest ahead Scott Dixon, with Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay rounding out the top five.

12:05 pm: It's a frantically busy final few minutes of practice here - by our count, there are 25 cars on track. One of the few who is not is Buddy Lazier, who has completed a field low of 19 laps today, with a best of 209.981mph.

12:00 pm: We were so busy trying to work out how Pippa found the wall that we completely neglected to tell you that Tony Kanaan is now the session leader at 226.280mph. Ten minutes to go.

11:52 am: Green flag.

11:51 am: Still waiting for the debris from Mann's accident to be mopped up so that we can get this session back underway, but we've gotten word that Mann has been checked, released, and cleared to drive. This is her second crash during the build-up to the race. Last week's was caused by a rear wing fence-end failure, and Mann took a long look at the rear of her car after climbing out of this morning's wreckage.

11:43 am: Pippa Mann has hit the wall at Turn 4. Not sure how it happened, but she was sideways long before she hit the barrier. She's fine, although it looks like there's a fair bit of damage to the rear of the car. We're under yellows.

11:34 am: Marco Andretti is having an extended stay in the pits while the Andretti Autosport team works on a steering arm change. Elsewhere, there's also a bit of excitement in the vicinity of Buddy Lazier, who has been given two consecutive penalties for pit exit violations. James Hinchcliffe has also attraction some attention from race control, and has been issed a drive-through for pitlane speeding. While all of that is going on, Munoz is still in P1, and Scott Dixon has moved up to P2.

11:24 am: Carlos Munoz goes to P1 with a 224.772mph. It's starting to look quite Honda-ey at the top of the timing screens - Power is still in P2, but behind him are Ryan Hunter-Reay, Townsend Bell, Mikhail Aleshin, James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato.

11:20 am: IndyCar has announced that the session will be extended by 10 minutes.

11:19 am: Townsend Bell moves to the top with a 223.971mph, and is beaten almost immediately by Will Power's 224.384mph.

11:17 am: Ganassi is setting the early pace, with Scott Dixon being the first driver to break the 223mph mark this morning with a 223.054mph effort. That beat the previous benchmark of 222.788mph, which was set by teammate Tony Kanaan.

11:12 am: Back to green, and everyone is tripping over each other trying to get out of pitlane.

11:00 am: Green flag for the final hour of practice for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 ... and we're already under yellows for debris. Only eight cars managed to poke their noses out of pitlane before the caution flags came out.

USF 17 4The Mazda Road to Indy has unveiled the chassis that will form the platform of the next generation of USF2000 and Pro Mazda cars.

The Tatuus USF-17 will be the series standard for at least the next five years, and features a state-of-the-art carbon fiber monocoque chassis to meet the latest FIA safety standards as well as the proven 2.0-liter Mazda MZR engine and Cooper racing tires. It will replace the stalwart Van Diemen/Elan tube-frame car which has provided the backbone of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda since 1999.

The USF-17 is based upon the same FIA-approved Formula 4 T-014 design which is utilized in the Italian and North European Zone F4 series, as well as the new-for-2016 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship. Significant enhancements include the provision of a PFC four- piston brake package, Cosworth Omega L2 Plus data system with Cosworth CFW 277 steering wheel (complete with integrated dash and gear change paddles) and a Magneti Marelli electronic gearshift system, forged aluminum American Racing Technomesh wheels and stainless steel exhaust headers.

Unique USF2000 sidepods, engine cover, front and rear wing end plates, nose cone and front cover combine to form an aero package that includes carbon composite wings with adjustable twin-element rear wing and a carbon composite diffuser. The rolling chassis is priced at $51,800, which is significantly less than the current USF2000 car.

"Today marks yet another great moment for the Mazda Road to Indy as we take another step forward into a bright future with the new Tatuus USF-17," said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. "I have watched Tatuus work with my staff and our partners on this project over the last six months, and I am convinced we made the right choice on this new car. They listened to what I wanted in a race car and delivered a beautiful, technologically advanced and, I believe, fast racecar."

The prototype USF-17 car will undergo a rigorous test and development program over the course of the next six weeks at four different race tracks in North America, after which the final specifications will be fixed. Mazda sports car talent and USF2000 steward/driver coach Joel Miller will handle the bulk of the testing duties.

Delivery of the first batch of 15 cars – all of which have already been sold – is set for September, with an initial two-day series test slated for late October. A second batch of 15 cars is scheduled for delivery in December. A second series open test will take place in January of 2017.

The winner of next year's USF2000 championship – the first to be run with the new Mazda- powered Tatuus USF-17– will receive a Mazda scholarship to assist in graduation to the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, which will see the debut of another brand-new car featuring the same chassis along with an updated Mazda engine, enhanced aerodynamics and wider Cooper Tires.

"We talk a lot about the Mazda Road to Indy as the finest and most comprehensive driver development ladder in the world," said John Doonan, Director of Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations. "The unveiling of the USF-17 today is the next step for Andersen Promotions to continue to improve the safety, performance and value of each series. We can't wait to see the USF-17 racing next season and then the new Pro Mazda chassis to follow in 2018. To go along with the sleek Indy Lights IL-15 chassis, we will have the finest lineup of race cars anywhere."

Interest in the USF-17 has been high. The September shipment of 15 cars has been sold as well as half of the second shipment in December. They will be delivered to 12 different teams, nine of which are new to the series.

"For me and for all of the people working at Tatuus, this is a fantastic day," said Gianfranco De Bellis, Tatuus Race Cars director. "I have great memories from my first experience with Dan Andersen 20 years ago in America. Our commitment and wish was to build the best car possible. I hope this will be appreciated by all the teams and something that we will all be proud of. I want to thank Scot and everyone involved in this project. We will look forward to seeing the car on track to be sure that it is not only a beautiful dream, but a reality."

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1969 DUQUOIN FOYT LION 1The Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s photo archives are filled with tens of thousands of photos from the 1900s to 2016, and some are simply bizarre, or funny, or a mixture of the two. We've all seen the iconic shots from the first 99 runnings of the Indy 500; here's a look at some more of the lighter side culled from the IMS archives...

Click here to view the first collection.

1915Depalmacheckeredflag 4567

Ralph DePalma takes the checkered flag at the 1915 Indy 500 beneath the bravest plank-walking flagger on the planet.



According to IMS historian Donald Davidson, the Norge refrigerator company – a division of Borg Warner – provided their products for use on pit lane in the late 1930s. We see Jimmy Snyder and Louis Meyer here enjoying Indy's traditional glass of milk, but the most interesting refrigerator use came from drivers who kept spare helmets inside. Per Davidson, drivers would swap their hot, sweaty helmets for the ice-cold spares during pit stops. Brilliant.



Indy 500 souvenir stand, circa 1951. Among the oddities, $3 plastic replica “Crash Helmets” with “Googles” (not goggles) were available along with an assortment of odd hats, seat cushions, and sunglasses. “Googles”…wonder if the Speedway is making money off of licensing the name to…



The face of an angel: An 18-year-old A.J. Foyt poses for a photo at the Playland Park oval in Houston.


1964 Larry Bisceglia

Arizona-based mechanic Larry Bisceglia earned his claim to fame as the first person in line to enter the Speedway once the gates opened for the 500. He made the trek for 37 consecutive years, but in 1986, the streak ended when he was too ill to drive to Indiana. His first Indy 500 came in 1926, his last in 1987. Larry Bisceglia died on Dec. 7, 1988. His 1951 Chevy panel truck remains in the care of the IMS Museum.



Johnny Carson, the king of late night television, dons a firesuit and records a segment with Rodger Ward and Parnelli Jones in 1967. Carson’s show was the most-watched in America, making his appearance at Indy to drive Jones’ STP Turbine a statement on the importance the great race held at the time.



Indy legend A.J. Foyt appears to be engaged in a playful tussle with a lion. It wasn’t. The promotion, at the DuQuoin track in 1969, went sideways rather quickly.

According to Foyt’s longtime PR rep Anne Fornoro, the lion, restrained by a collar and chain with a stake driven into the ground, pulled the stake free, which prompted Foyt to start running for his life.

“The trainer told A.J. he shouldn’t have run because the lion’s instinct was to chase him,” Fornoro said. The lion tackled Super Tex, wrestled him to the ground, then shredded his firesuit—and some of A.J.’s skin—with its claws before the trainer was able to regain control.

Wearing a fresh firesuit and a few bandages, the American badass went on to finish third at DuQuoin that day.

1975 Bobby Unser rain in pit lane

Rain at Indy is nothing new, but rarely have we seen the 500 turn into a boat regatta like the 1975 race. Bobby Unser sailed home to victory (sorry, couldn't resist) in the rain-shortened Indy 435. 



Former California governor Ronald Regan, shown with IMS owner Tony Hulman, visited the Speedway days before the 1976 Indy 500 to campaign for the GOP nomination that was eventually won by Gerald Ford.



Journalists and luminaries once took part in a pre-Indy race of their own as they raced 33 lawn mowers around the 2.5-mile oval. Seriously, they really did...



A.J. Foyt is mobbed by adoring fans after winning the 1977 Indy 500. Forget rushing a basketball court after victory – try running onto a racetrack with moving cars…


1987-929-11-David Hasselhoff164

David Hasselhoff was not only a part owner of the Indy 500 entry driven by Arie Luyendyk in the mid-1980s, he also stepped up to sing a lounge-style rendition of the national anthem in front of a few hundred thousand people at the Speedway.



The toughest man the Speedway has ever known, Parnelli Jones, riding a scooter…with a gift set of golf clubs. Even our heroes look ordinary on occasion.



Indy 500 star Rodger Ward poses with a bulldog wearing goggles. Why? No one at IMS knows.


imsc0343 1 Emmo 1989

One of the great IMS photos that hasn’t aged well. Emerson Fittipaldi poses with the $1 million he won after capturing the 1989 Indy 500 and, in light of his recent financial trouble, the bundles of cash surrounding his car would come in handy right about now.


Linda Vaughn Miss Hurst Shifter rides atop the 1972 Hurst Olds Pace Car

Despite her God-given high center of gravity, famed race queen Linda Vaughn, also “Miss Hurst Shifter,” was able to hold onto the Hurst shifter platform while circulating around the Speedway in 1972 with the Hurst Olds Pace Car.


MarshallPruettArchives 1988 Indy500 023

When Sponsors invade. Scott Atchison's 1988 Indy 500 entry was sponsored by Otter Pops, a flavored frozen sugar-treat (with a powerful chemical aftertaste) that kept kids bouncing off the walls. The company wheeled out cutouts of their mascots to fill the garage opening, which might have worked better than the SCCA Super Vee champion's car. Atchison was bumped from the field during his only attempt to make the 500.


1968 CARNEGIEOver 99 runnings, the Indianapolis 500 has become the most famous event in motorsport. That iconic status is built on a bedrock of hundreds of small stories, and to celebrate the centennial race, has asked some of the people who are part of Indy's fabric to share a few of those stories with us. Check back every day between now and race day for a new 'Indy Diary' entry.

Tom Carnegie was a well-known high school basketball announcer who called the famous ‘Hoosiers’ game. He was the voice on the Speedway public address system from 1946 to 2006. He passed away in 2011 at 91. The following is from ‘Tom Carnegie: The Voice Remembered’ on RTV6 ABC, Indianapolis, and appears in Art Garner's new book 'Indy 500 Memories - An Oral History of The Greatest Spectacle In Racing'.

bookpromoTom Carnegie was a well-known high school basketball announcer who called the famous 'Hoosiers' game. He was the voice on the Speedway public address system from 1946 to 2006. He passed away in 2011 at 91. The following is from 'Tom Carnegie: The Voice Remembered' on RTV6 ABC, Indianapolis.

Nobody gave me any help [his first year] or anything like that. I just had names and numbers. Like calling a football game. I somehow got through it and satisfied Wilbur Shaw and Tony Hulman because they asked me to come back next year.

It took me 10 or 15 years to have any confidence that what I was saying was right. And then you begin to realize that this is theater. Speed theater. And growing up in the theater like I did, you begin to do those little things. Then when somebody said, 'Hey, I like that' about 'Heee's on it', then why not use it again?

I began to play to the audience. I got them excited. You get them excited and then you become excited.

My favorite day was when Tom Sneva told me the night before on the radio and on television that he would do 200 miles an hour the next day. I said, 'What? You're kidding me'. He said, 'No, you watch it, I will'. Sure enough, I was ready for him. On the very first lap, he got over 200 miles an hour. What do you do? You get excited. It gave me a chance to say, 'It's a newwwwwww track record'.

And then lap number two, 'Still faster. And you won't believe it, another new track record.' That's two track records in the first two laps. Third lap, still higher. Fourth lap, 'And it's a new all-time speed record'. I got more fun out of it than anybody. The crowd was really there for that occasion.

That's one I really remember. I was ready to quit, because that was the highlight of my day, my year, my life.

McLaren's suggestion it could outpace the likes of Ferrari in the Monaco Grand Prix is too optimistic, reckons Williams Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa.

Monaco has been tipped as one of McLaren's best chances to shine in the 2016 season as the power deficit from its Honda engine will be less significant, and its racing director Eric Boullier cited title-chasing Ferrari as one of the teams it could upstage. But Massa thinks McLaren is being over-optimistic.

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"Maybe they can be better here, but they are not able to beat these big teams at the moment," he said. "It's not just related to the engine, it's related to the car. I don't think they have a car that is similar to Mercedes, or similar to Red Bull or similar to Ferrari at the moment. Maybe they have a car which can work better on this track, but not on the level to beat these top teams."

Boullier suggested McLaren has the third-best chassis in F1 at present after Mercedes and Red Bull. Toro Rosso was also praised by Boullier, but STR driver Carlos Sainz Jr. reckons McLaren needs to prove itself in Monaco.

"Many people are talking of how strong McLaren is going to be," he acknowledged. "McLaren are always evolving and here, really low-speed stuff could be really good for them.

"It's going to be one of the tightest midfields of the year here in Monaco, with Force India always showing really good mechanical grip, us having a lot of downforce, which should help around here, and McLaren being really good in second-gear corners.

"Williams has less of a disadvantage this year as the step in ultra-soft should help them to cure the problems they had last year. The best chassis are still Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren is to be confirmed. If they are very strong here then they have a stronger chassis than us. It's 'TBC' because we don't know yet."


McLaren was disappointed with its Thursday practice performance, when Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were only 10th and 12th.

"Front end was the big issue, for both of us," said Button. "The afternoon was much better, getting there."

Alonso remained optimistic things would be better by qualifying.

"We know this is a good opportunity for us in terms of the circuit layout," he said. "Maybe we expected to be a little bit more competitive in the free practice. But we need to stay calm, it's only Thursday and there is a lot of potential in the car that we need to find for Saturday.

"The balance was not right [in practice], with a lot of understeer, so there is a lot of laptime to come from us. The time of truth will be Saturday and we will deliver."


Originally on

juanGoing into Sunday's 100th Indianapolis 500, the two teammates that put on a dandy duel for the victory last year have almost been forgotten.

Juan Montoya, who beat Will Power by an eyelash (0.1046 seconds) after storming back from 30th following an early altercation, only qualified 17th last weekend, while Power led Team Penske by putting his Verizon Chevy in the sixth slot.

But be aware: The most successful team in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway history is lurking.

"I feel better, honestly, than even last year," said Power, who's racked up 22 of his 25 wins driving for Roger Penske. "This has felt like the most low-key month I've had and really haven't thought about it being the 100th.

power tight"The only thing I've thought about is getting the car right in the practice sessions. And I feel my set-up is right there in the window."

Montoya struggled in qualifying and in Monday's lengthy practice period before finding the sweet spot on his Verizon Chevy.

"Eighty percent of the practice was awful but the last 20 percent was good," the two-time Indy champion said. "I ran 12-15 laps in a row without saying a word on the radio and I think that's a good indication."

Power led 23 laps in 2015 to Montoya's nine and thought he was in the perfect position after being passed on Lap 197.

"I was sitting there [in second] thinking this is the best spot," he recalled. "That I would pass him on the backstretch just like I'd done all day. I kind of lifted [in Turn 3] but still had a shot and if I could have run flat I would have been a lot closer to him at the line. It was frustrating."

Montoya isn't one of the pre-race favorites, but that hardly ruffles his 40-year-old feathers.

"I think my chances are good," he said. "I'm not going to come here and say that I'm going to win the race but just give me a shot."

Of course, teammates Simon Pagenaud (starting eighth in his Menard's Special) and Helio Castroneves (ninth in the Pennzoil Special) also figure to be right in the mix.

Pagenaud has reeled off three consecutive wins and was one of the fastest cars at Indy last year – leading 35 laps – but finished 10th after breaking his front wing.

"I don't see why we shouldn't be contending for the win," the winner of this month's Angie's List Grand Prix said. "We've got a lot of momentum."

Castroneves came close to joining A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears two years ago as the only four-time Indy 500 winners before being edged by Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps.

"I love this place," Castroneves said. "And I like our chances."


Gordon Kirby and Joe Freeman's Racemaker Press have delivered another winner with "Tony Bettenhausen & Sons: An American Racing Family Album."

With some classic, never-before-seen pictures spread over 216 pages, it's the history of this star-crossed family told through the eyes of the only remaining son, Merle.

Using his memories and anecdotes, the middle brother of Gary and Tony Jr. narrates what it was like growing up with and watching his father – the "The Tinley Park Express" – win races and championships but always get denied at Indianapolis.

And there was equal heartbreak for Gary as well, followed by an amazing comeback while Tony Jr. went from also-ran in USAC to a solid Indianapolis 500 veteran before moving into team ownership.

Merle, who lost his right arm in his IndyCar debut at Michigan in 1972, also gets some historical perspective from sister Susie.

Kirby and Bettenhausen will be signing books Friday night at the IMS Museum beginning at 5 p.m.

1965DaleRobertson65923 9643

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s photo archives are filled with tens of thousands of photos from the 1900s to 2016, and some are simply bizarre, or funny, or a mixture of the two. Take the one above of actor Dale Robertson, best known for his roles in westerns like "Tales of Wells Fargo," who joined Andy Granatelli's pajama-clad team for a photo opportunity at the 1965 Indy 500.

We've all seen the iconic shots from 99 runnings of the Indy 500; here's a look at Part 1 of the lighter side culled from the IMS archives:

1910 C 362 Ray Harroun in plane

Ray Harroun, winner of the first Indy 500 in 1911, is shown here in one of two single-seater airplanes he built on his own. Shown here in 1910, the renowned engineer/driver is believed to be on the grounds of IMS.


1938AbjenkinsandMarmonMeteor47507 5403

Indianapolis was a great attraction for unique vehicles built for other disciplines. Here we have the Mormon Meteor II, built by Duesenberg with a V12 airplane engine as a land speed record car, at the Speedway in 1938. The strange vehicle was successful in setting multiple records, and was also reportedly driven for more than 20,000 miles on the street!


1946 clean up no chain gang after WWII

Groundskeepers work to clean up the derelict Speedway infield after the 500 went on hiatus during World War II and the great track fell into disrepair. 


1965 Neg 3 1965 356

That definitely isn’t an Indy car. More than 50 years before the Brickyard held its first sports car race, Jim Hall went to the Speedway to conduct a tire test with his Chaparral 2 sports car in 1965, and was said to be impressively fast around the 2.5-mile oval.


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imsc0277 1968 Paul Newman Winning

Bobby Unser or Frank Capua? Frank Capua or Paul Newman? Rislone or Crawford? Newman’s role as Indy 500 driver Capua in 1969’s "Winning" was filmed in 1968, the year Unser won his first 500, and with light sponsor and driver name modifications to the car, it isn’t hard to pick the wrong Unser photo thumbnail from the archives.


1972 bathroom day after race

Men’s bathroom the day after the 1972 Indy 500. This might be the most disgusting photo ever taken at the Speedway.

1973GordonJohncockAircycle73480 5116

Above: A puzzled-looking Gordon Johncock sits atop one of the gifts he received after winning the 1973 Indy 500: an “air cycle” personal hovercraft.

Here's more from the IMS Archives:

Vault Foyt 1961 unicycle 

If winning his first Indy 500 wasn’t enough of an accomplishment in 1961, A.J. Foyt also felt the need to prove he could ride a unicycle.


1963 Denny Sutton 63914

Denny Dutton, a member of the Gordon Pipers, was responsible for the song "Speedway Romance," which is featured on a poster to the right below an autographed portrait of IMS owner Tony Hulman. The kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing Gordon troop are still in existence today and remain and Indy 500 staple. To date, they've yet to top the minimal sales produced by Dutton's "Speedway Romance" 45 rpm record.


1970 DT 9 1 Bill Simpson312

Racer-turned-safety apparel manufacturer Bill Simpson sets himself alight on the Speedway grounds in 1971 while wearing one of his firesuits to prove the value of his product.


1967youngAndrettis 1933

The young Andretti clan, circa 1967, with three future Indy 500 starters, including the three on the right: Michael, John, and Jeff. 


1966 684 Parnelli Jones

1963 Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones is on his knees surrounded by a fairy godmother and other actors during filming in 1966.


Snake Pit 1980

Woodstock had nothing on Indy’s infamous Snake Pit.


MarshallPruettArchives 1977Indy500 001

If ever a driver was born for Indy...and its Snake Pit. 1976 Formula 1 world champion James Hunt rocked up at Indy in 1977 out of the blue, drew great interest from fans who wanted to know if he was there to race, professed his interest, then retired before he could attempt to add his name to the likes of F1 champions Jim Clark and Graham Hill as winners of the Indy 500.

Stayed tuned for more bizarre photos in Part 2.

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