“Star your engines” sounds a little different at the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational. During the weekend-long event, cars rumble louder. Less uniformly. A jumble of makes, models, and years circles the track and lines the open pit bays.
Now in its fourth year, the Invitational supplies a behind-the-scenes, face-against-the-fence view of racing. Instead of sitting in the stands and watching Corvettes and Camaros zip by, fans can actually sit in the cars and talk to owners and drivers one-on-one. “These are the real cars,” says Charles Test, owner of a 1911 National Speedway Roadster. “You can hear them. You can see them. You can touch them. Experience them. As opposed to them sitting in the museum.”
If racing’s not your speed, it’s easy to find beautiful cars to admire (or buy in the auction), such as luxurious Jaguars, McKees, and even some iconic models like a turbine-powered STP Day-Glo orange IndyCar from ’68. During the Indy Legends Pro-Am, a priceless parade of machines, some valued as high as $10 million, take laps for charity, but that doesn’t mean the drivers hold back.
With cars like a Le Mans–winning Cobra competing in the 45-minute contest with mandatory pit stops, this race is the real deal. “They’re topping 130,” says Pam Shatraw from the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, which puts on the event. “You don’t hand a car over to somebody like Al Unser Jr. and expect them to go 70 miles per hour.” —Ashley Schuler