IRL: Indy 500: IMS recalls Gasoline Alley 50 years ago

EXHIBIT AT HALL OF FAME RECALLS GASOLINE ALLEY OF 50 YEARS AGO INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 22, 2006 -- Walking up to the new Gasoline Alley garage exhibit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, visitors are immediately ...

EXHIBIT AT HALL OF FAME RECALLS GASOLINE ALLEY OF 50 YEARS AGO

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 22, 2006 -- Walking up to the new Gasoline Alley garage exhibit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, visitors are immediately transported back to 1956, the heart of the Indianapolis 500's roadster era.

The exhibit, part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Hall of Fame Museum, re-creates the look and feel of the narrow, wooden team garages that formed the Speedway's famed Gasoline Alley for approximately 75 years. As Museum visitors approach the exhibit, they first see a pair of the famous green-painted pine plank doors that trimmed the actual garages. Few of the doors remain in the public eye, as they became highly sought collector's items when the old wooden garages were replaced with modern concrete garages in 1985-86.

Anchoring the exhibit is the No. 8 John Zink Special Watson/Offy roadster that Pat Flaherty drove to victory in the 1956 Indianapolis 500. A Drake Offenhauser ("Offy") engine block sits to the side, and Firestone tires and a front- and rear-end cowling for a car rest in a loft above, ready for action. Tools of all kinds line the walls.

Adding depth and providing a glimpse of life in the IMS garage area circa 1956 are calendars and posters from the era, a General Electric refrigerator with bottles of Cook's 500 Ale ready to serve and, of course, coffee. Lots of coffee, for the frequent all-night repair-and-rebuild sessions that auto racing teams endure to prepare for the world's biggest race.

One of the rewards, for drivers, of those long nights 50 years ago also hangs among other artifacts: an authentic leather "100 mph Club" jacket.

The Hall of Fame Museum is located in the IMS infield, just inside the main gate (Gate 2) off 16th Street. Admission is only $3 for adults, $1 for children age 6-15 and free for children age 5 and younger.

The Museum also offers a bus tour of the Speedway's famous 2.5-mile oval when there is no track activity, and a more thorough, 90-minute behind-the-scenes "Grounds Tour" is available on select weekends throughout the year. Contact the Museum at (317) 492-6784 for information.

The Museum is open every day of the year except Christmas Day and features approximately 75 vehicles on display, including Indianapolis 500-winning cars, sports cars, stock cars, classic passenger automobiles and early motorcycles. Trophies, motor racing artwork, photographs and artifacts that also tell the story of the evolution of motorsports are on display.

***

IMS tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the Indianapolis 500, United States Grand Prix or Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.

-ims-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Pat Flaherty