Photo: SVRA

Paul Tracy finally drinks milk in victory lane at Indy, another Unser wins too

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NBCSN IndyCar analyst and 2002 Indy 500 runner-up Paul Tracy finally earned what he’s sought his entire racing life: he drank from a bottle of celebratory and victorious milk in Victory Circle at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

During this past weekend’s Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational, Tracy won top honors in the “B Production” class in a 1965 Ford Mustang GT 350.

“For me, it’s a joy to be here and to run here, and to finally go up on top of that podium is obviously a great feeling, and to hold a bottle of milk – that’s the one thing I didn’t get to do in my career that I felt I should have done,” Tracy said. “To be able to do it today with this group of guys, it was a hoot.”

Tracy also provided one of the event highlights when he put a winner’s wreath around legendary IMS historian Donald Davidson on the podium. Indianapolis Star photographer Matt Kryger captured the moment below.

Another highlight of the event was a fourth member of the famous Unser racing family can now proudly say he’s also an Indianapolis Motor Speedway champion.

Robby Unser, son of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser, drove a 1965 Cobra CompR to victory with teammate Andre Ahrle in the Indy Legends Pro-Am, the marquee event of the four-day Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational.

“You have no idea how much it means to be on this podium,” Robby Unser said in a media release.

Robby Unser is also the nephew of four-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser and the cousin of two-time 500 winner Al Unser Jr.

Robby Unser and Ahrle won first place overall and in the “A Production” class. Seven-time Indy 500 starter Richie Hearn and teammate Clair Schwendeman finished second, followed by Al Unser Jr. and Peter Klutt.

“This SVRA event is a fantastic event and we love it,” Unser Jr. said.

Other notables that competed in the SVRA weekend included 11-time Indy 500 starter Davey Hamilton, A.J. Foyt IV, Roberto Guerrero, Lyn St. James, Davy Jones, Willy T. Ribbs, Bill Elliott and Ray Evernham.

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.