Friday, August 25, 2017

the Challenger pace car at Indy, that crashed into the photographer's tower

Interesting rims... but, seriously, the pants? With sandals, neckwarmer sweater, a sherriff's badge, and a yachting cap? What a poofter.

Palmer, who splits his time these days between Florida and Indianapolis, says the Indy 500 starter had told him to cross the starting line at the same time as pole-sitter Peter Revson.

“It was much faster than I had practiced,” Palmer was saying this week. “He was going 125 mph.”

Palmer mashed the gas one last time, then hit the brakes. Nothing. Sitting next to Palmer was IMS owner Tony Hulman Jr. In the back seat were astronaut John Glenn, the future U.S. senator from Ohio, and ABC sportscaster Chris Schenkel.

They plowed into the camera stand at an estimated 60 mph.

Cage talked Palmer out of the pace car. Here’s how:

“I invited Eldon for a tour of the (vintage) cars,” Cage says. “At the end of the tour there was an easel with a picture of (the 1971 pace) car. Framed up. And I said, ‘Eldon, I’d like to have your car here.’”

“He doesn’t say a word. Two days later he calls me. He says, ‘Come get the car.’”

It was 2006. The purchase price was $200,000.

“I’ve never told anyone what I spent on that car until now,” Cage says.

He does other things with his money. He gave $10 million for an athletics facility at Berry, which the school named the Cage Athletic and Recreation Center.

Cars are another passion. He also has the queen’s car from 1971, the two backup pace cars — identical orange Dodge Challengers, one was the beauty queen's pace car,  — and even that Charger (yellow, black interior) once owned by Al Unser Sr who won that days Indy 500, but because the pace car that he would have been given was damaged, was awarded the yellow Charger instead

Cage found one of the backup pace cars in a backyard in Fort Wayne, two small trees growing through the floorboard.

The day before the race, Palmer was allowed to make practice runs in the 383 powered 1971 Challenger convertible. On those practice runs he placed a cone on pit row to show him where he needed to start slowing down in order to not have any problems after he broke off from the field. As you’ll see in the video, he was absolutely hauling ass down pit row and began to brake way too late to stop. The problem? Someone took the cone away and he waited too long to apply the brakes.

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