|INDY 500 RACE
May 26, 1996
(This page was created Sept 25, 2013 after I
came across these photos of mine.)
Jay and I had been roommates on the north side of
Indianapolis for a few years and his buddies from Michigan
would come down in May and go to the race with us. But in
2005, Jay moved back to Michigan to finish his degree in
This did not stop these race fans from returning for the
I had a 2 bedroom apt but only one bed. My other bedroom
was the game room with a foosball table and a dart board.
I had one little couch in the living room and a wicker chair.
Consequently two of the guys had to sleep on the floor,
which might have been better than using the couch actually.
1996 is the year that a rule was made at the Indy 500 that
reserved 22 spots on the grid for those drivers who were
competing in the new Indy Racing League (IRL) as opposed
to C.A.R.T. (Championship Auto Racing Teams.)
All the CART teams boycotted the Indy 500, except for
Galles and Walker.
CART attempted to hold a competing race at Michigan on
the same day, which they called the U.S. 500. This race
was doomed to failure, as was CART.
This was the year of the fastest speeds
ever at Indy.
On Pole Day, rookie Tony Stewart,
driving for Menards, holds the fastest
speed for most of the day with a 4-lap
average of 233.1 mph.
Arie Luyendyk came out late in the day
and posted a 4-lap average of 233.39 mph,
besting Stewart's speed.
Minutes later, team owner John Menard
withdrawals Scott Brayton's Lola which
was qualified on the 2nd row. Brayton
came out in his backup car and captured
the pole with a 4-lap speed of 233.718
During post-qualifying inspection,
Luyendyk's car was found to be under
weight and his time was thrown out.
Tragically, six days later, Brayton has a
rear tire blow out during practice in turn 2
while traveling at approximately 235 mph.
The veteran driver lost his life that day. He
was 37 y/o. His first Indy was in 1981.
These two things moved Stewart into the
Buddy Lazier won the race.
|Me, Jay, Koz and E.T. sitting toward the top of Stand J, section 28 - Good seats!
Parade Lap before the start of the 80th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
|Roberto Guerrero qualified 6th and finished 5th
driving for Pagan Racing in his WavePhore Pennzoil Renyard.
He would lead the race a few times during the day.
His 1992 record qualifying speed fell this year.
These photos were likely taken with my old Nikon film camera with a 50mm lens.
None the less, their boycott resulted in only 77 entries for
the '96 Indy 500, down from 104 the previous year. It also
resulted in the largest number of rookie drivers.
Ironically, after the CART contingent had bleated through
the media that all the rookies in the Indy 500 would result
in a crash fest, their US 500 was, in fact, the crash fest and
the Indy 500 was quite successful! Upon seeing the start
of that CART race, I have never laughed so hard in my life!
This was the last year at the Indy 500 for the CART chassis.
A new IRL Dallara chassi would be used the following year
with 4.0 L V-8 engines. This year the engines included the
Ford Cosworth V-8, the Menard V-6 and Mercedes Ilmor