The People of IMS

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Airton Dare

Airton Dare became one of the Brazilians that migrated to Indianapolis in the past decade. “My first year was a really good race,” he said. “I was 21st, I think. But it was a really good experience for me. We struggled all month, and a guy from (Chip) Ganassi gave us a motor to use.”

His best finish in five starts was eighth in 2001, but he drove an A.J. Foyt machine to victory at Kansas during his IndyCar stint.

“I’d been waiting for a long time,” he said. “I’d never gotten to win a race. But the team made really good pit stops. It took longer than I thought (to win).

“In 2006 (his last “500”), a sponsor asked me to come back Sam Schmidt. I like the IndyCar Series. But to me right now, it’s in the past. I’d love to come back but don’t have high hopes. I won’t come back just to be there.” Dare liked ovals so much, he built a 700-meter oval for go-karts in his hometown in Brazil.

“We’ve had some races,” Dare said. “People here are not used to ovals. Guys don’t like the speed and touching wheels.”

But he misses Indy. “You go to a bunch of racetracks and some I don’t even remember,” he said. “It (Indy) was probably one of the best times of my life. I can remember every lap I was in at Indy. It’s so exciting, it’s hard to forget. It’s a part of your life you want to come back. If I get the chance, I’d like to go there and watch the race sometime … maybe to race, who knows?”

But for now, Dare is working on his family’s 20,000-acre sugar cane farm for ethanol production. He still races, though. “I run motocross locally,” he said. “Kind of the opposite of Jeff Ward.”

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Fun Fact #3
The IMS is the world’s largest spectator sporting facility, with more than 250,000 permanent seats.
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