Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Always Name Your Race Cars After Insects

I "watch" Speed Channel (as in leave it on in the background) and the show Hot Rod TV was on.  Hey, they are talking about old race cars.  This is the Marmon Wasp, the winner of the first ever Indianapolis 500 in 1911.

If it was the number 41 and had a red & blue paint job, I would've pinched myself.  Cause one of the most famous race cars in history is almost named after the same insect as the Hornet from Daytona USA.  Hornets are a subset of wasps so they're relatively the same.  Is that a coincidence or was Nagoshi-San onto something???

About the first Indianapolis 500, it is a funny story...  It was basically a soap box derby but more people got hurt.  Race cars back then drove an average of 75 mph (120 kph).  Bear in mind the race was always 500 miles so it took 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 8 seconds for Ray Harroun, driver of the #32 Marmon Wasp, to finish.  The track was laden with white sand to absorb the oil.  A car's tire came off.  One guy died and six others were injured.  There were pace cars, pit stops, and 80,000 fans in attendance so this was a "legit" event.

Nowadays, Indy Motor Speedway can seat 400,000 fans (largest sporting venue in the world) and the 500 is aired on ABC every year as everyone makes a big deal out of it despite the fact no one cares about Indy Car anymore, or something.  I care about Indy Car...if only someone on Speed Channel told me when the races come on cause they always happen when I'm NOT watching the TV...

Black & white footage doesn't help me see the sponsors...
What is that, Go Daddy and Red Bull sponsoring cars in 1911???  NOPE!!
Lovin' the shoutout to the "King of Speed" from Daytona...

And if this old timey news footage wasn't hectic enough, guess what--this is 1911 we're talking about. Do you think a bunch of judges could keep track of the positions of 40 cars over that time span? After 10 minutes, everyone lost track of the positions. Then about 200 miles in, a spin out near the judges' stand caused them to flee, throwing any record-keeping out the window.  So Ray Harroun "won" because he was such a swell guy who drove a car made in Indianapolis and was good friends with the president of the track. Hey, read this.

I like this picture from Ron Hoskins at Getty Images (from the previous link) cause we love cars and we need more old-school cars in our vidya games.  Oh wait...

We already do, thanks Amusement Vision, no thanks to you AM2!!!

EDIT: Oh yeah, you can't forget about the 1951 Hudson Hornet, made famous by Doc Hudson from the Cars movie.

Just so you know, Cars is THE BEST PIXAR MOVIE!  *readers rage*

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