Racing Legends Rahal, Evernham Enter Cars in Celebration of Automobiles
The Celebration of Automobiles Vintage and Classic Car Show will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a fourth consecutive year on Saturday, May 10, with this year’s edition featuring entries from racing luminaries Bobby Rahal and Ray Evernham.
Vintage car owners and automotive enthusiasts from around North America have flocked to IMS the past three years for the Celebration of Automobiles, which pays tribute to the rich heritage of automotive development at the track for more than 100 years. This year’s Celebration of Automobiles will be held on the same day as the running of the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the reconfigured road course. The Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be the first Verizon IndyCar Series road course race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
An historic 1965 Shelby Ford Mustang and a 1961 E-Type Jaguar convertible have been entered in this year’s Celebration of Automobiles by 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, and his prized Mustang has a backstory all its own.
“My car is the fourth from the last built in ’65 and it sat in the backyard in Riverside, California, of the guy who bought it originally, and I am the second title owner of the car,” Rahal said. “It sat in his backyard for about 35 years and I was introduced to the car by a friend and everything in the car was absolutely original. It needed some work, and the paint of the blue stripes had been burned off of the car because of the sun, but thankfully there wasn’t any rust to speak of. So it has the original engine, the original transmission, the original wheels and the original everything. It’s been restored, for sure, but it’s the same stuff and you don’t see that often.
“Most of those cars got ridden and ridden hard, and they paid a price for that, so it’s really a very original car brought back to life beautifully by a fella in Illinois that works on my cars, so it’ll be exciting to share that car with everybody.”
Another car that Rahal will bring to IMS for the Celebration of Automobiles is his 1961 Jaguar E-Type that he’s equally proud of.
“I’ve always felt that the E-Type Jaguar might be the sexiest car ever built,” Rahal said. “In fact, Enzo Ferrari claimed that the E-Type Jaguar, when it started in 1961, was the most beautiful car he’d ever seen, and that means something when he says that. I have a convertible and the ‘61s were kind of the purest of the breed and it looks fast, and they say the body and the design is very sexy, and I’m anxious to share that, too.”
Ray Evernham of Hendrick Motorsports became a household name in racing as Jeff Gordon’s crew chief from 1993-99 as the two joined forces in winning 47 NASCAR Sprint Cup races and series championships in 1995, 1997 and 1998. The pair also won the inaugural Brickyard 400 at IMS in 1994, and added a second Brickyard title in 1998.
Evernham, who recently left ESPN as a racing analyst to return to Hendrick Motorsports to serve in a variety of roles, has entered a car in this year’s Celebration of Automobiles that is no stranger to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The car Evernham plans to bring is a 1956 Indianapolis “roadster,” built by driver-turned-chief mechanic Russ Snowberger of the Federal Engineering team and based on the team’s two Kurtis-Kraft roadsters.
Driver George Amick qualified the car for the 1957 Indianapolis 500, but it was later bumped from the field. It enjoyed success in USAC National Championship racing with Billy Garrett placing ninth in the 1957 Milwaukee 200, and Tony Bettenhausen placing seventh in the Trenton 100.
Equipped with an Offenhauser 255 C.I. alcohol-burning engine, the blue and yellow No. 4 car was built by Snowberger, a man who began his racing career in 1921 in Delaware, and was recognized for his motorsports prowess as both an innovator and driver with 15 starts in the Indianapolis 500 from 1928-1947. His best performances in the ‘500’ came when he finished fifth in 1931 and 1932.
Beautiful and rare cars manufactured from 1910-70 will be on display at IMS during the Celebration of Automobiles. Cars built in Indiana will be featured, along with new additions including an artist pavilion featuring world-class automotive art.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser will serve as the honorary head judge during the Celebration of Automobiles on Saturday, May 10. As part of his role, Unser will determine which classic/vintage car will win the prestigious Driver’s Choice Award.
Other popular features from previous editions of the Celebration of Automobiles will return in 2014, including a welcome reception, owners’ lounge, track laps, a driving tour of central and southern Indiana, and an awards dinner featuring an engaging question-and-answer session with Unser hosted by IMS Historian Donald Davidson.
The Celebration of Automobiles began in 2011 as part of the festivities commemorating the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500, and in just three years the event has become a popular fan favorite and one of the great Month of May traditions at the Speedway. For more information on the Celebration of Automobiles, visit: http://www.celebrationofautomobiles.com/
2014 ticket information: Ticket information is available for the four events in 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, 98th Indianapolis 500, Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
Fans can order tickets at www.ims.com/tickets, by calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or by visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.