Less than ten miles from Indianapolis, home of the famous “Indy 500,” one finds the Indiana State Fairgrounds, site of an almost equally famous one mile oval which was originally a horse racing track and still held both equine racing as well as events for Sprint and stock cars.. For many years it was the home of one of the most well-known United States Auto Club Sprint Car races – The Hoosier Hundred – the last such event on its dirt having been held there this year.
The dirt surface construction of the ISF oval was laid down with a foot or so of gravel then dry clay mixed with sand. USAC racing began throughout the midwest on tracks like this which continued to hold a strong fan attraction due to the spectacle of powerful racers running on the constantly changing surface and the very great danger where any big tangle could send a car over the fence.
Here we see the pace lap for the 1967 running of the Hundred (meaning 100 laps of the ISF oval) with Bruce Walkup on pole and Mario Andretti next to him at the far left of the photograph. A close-in photo of Andretti’s car seen at the left in a “three point stance” carries n. 1 in recognition of his 1966 USAC National Championship, set over 16 races of which four were still on dirt, including a win of that year’s Hoosier Hundred. Walkup had broken the lap record in qualifying at a speed of 104.076 mph and held the lead for a half dozen laps until Andretti got by. Andretti’s Offenhauser-powered Sprint car was sponsored and entered by Al Dean of Dean Van Lines
Walkup, a rookie from California, slowly faded back and would finish sixth. AJ Foyt, driving his Ansted-Thompson Racing Sheraton/Thompson car now took up the chase of Andretti but the hard charging Italian driver from Nazareth, Pennsylvania kept the lead for the remaining 86 laps.
Here to the left is Jim McElreath in John Zink’s car, also in a power-on drift as he drives under A. J. Foyt in the Sheraton/Thompson Sprint car who is riding the “cushion” up near the fence. McElreath would finish fifth while Foyt came in second, unable to challenge Andretti.
William Johnson covered the 1967 Hoosier Hundred for Sports Illustrated and quoted a fan who saw the selection of $67,000, silver cups and other paraphernalia that Andretti took home after his win, “Jeez, some guys have got everything!”
Photos by Vicente Alvarez ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
To see more of our photographs please go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx