If you’re unfamiliar with Ford’s history at Le Mans, you may be wondering why we care so much about a new Ford GT. We don’t soil ourselves over any other GTE-class racers, so why does this one matter? Sure, the top P1 class is nice, but GTE puts Ford directly up against their extremely bitter old rival: Ferrari.
At the race track, it doesn’t take much to tell competitors apart in the crowds. Just look for the sponsor-laden—hopefully, in the driver’s case—fire suit, and you’ve found your person. But, back in the early days, competitors simply wore their street clothes—and they were at a much higher risk because of it.
The Indiana Pacers—it’s a sporty enough name, and it fits well for a basketball team. Without outside knowledge or a strange knack for putting two and two together, there wouldn’t be any reason to question it. But, as far removed as the two sports are, the Pacers actually got their name from the Indianapolis 500.
Racing is inherently dangerous, and that danger presents itself each time a vehicle rolls onto a track. Racing communities, in turn, continually make calls for safer conditions. But motorsport was far more risky in the days of wooden tracks and “murderdome” racing without brakes, and that didn’t last long at all.
Racing has never been a truly safe endeavor, but people behind the sport have learned how to improve it over the years. And while there have been plenty of safety improvements within race cars, like multi-point seat belts and devices for neck protection, some of that focus needed to be outside of vehicles as well.
Happy Sunday! Welcome to Holy Shift, where we highlight big innovations in the auto and racing industries each week—whether they be necessary or simply for comfort.
Wendell Scott was fast, but nothing came easy for him racing in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Scott was the first race-winning black driver at NASCAR’s highest level, which then as now had a tremendous Southern following—but one that made clear that it didn’t want him there at all.
Last week, I had a friend from out of state in town. Perhaps the most important activity on our list was a visit to Texas World Speedway, a monstrous two-mile oval practically in my childhood backyard. Upon pulling into the infield, she had no words.
Texas World Speedway is like one of those clown-shaped punching bags. Each time it gets knocked down, it jumps right back up and joins the fight again.
For every thriving motorsports facility in the U.S., we all know of a few that didn’t make it. Some speedways even sit in ruins, former crowd and car noise left a hollow shell. But, at least the tracks still have one thing—people with enough appreciation for what once was to help the legacies live on.
Racing has never been a cheap endeavor, and that goes for the venues that host racing as well. One day a race track can be home to cars thundering down the asphalt before thousands of cheering fans, only to turn into an abandoned, weedy eyesore when their fortunes change for the worse. These are the stories of some of…
[Cars line up at the starting line at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in its second year of existence: 1910. According to Getty Images, this was an early 100-mile race, run before a then-incredible distance of 500 miles was set. Photo credit: Paul Thompson/Stringer via Getty Images]
Wednesdays suck. 1960s American muscle does not suck. Road racing does not suck. YouTube also does not suck. Can you see where we're going with this? In-car video of a 7500-rpm AMC Javelin and loud noises below. Eat me, Wednesday.