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The 2022 Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational

While the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is most famous for hosting the Indianapolis 500, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other exciting events held at the track. One of which is the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational.

First held in 2014, it’s an annual event put on by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association. The 2022 event took place on June 18th and 19th and brought together hundreds of cars for an unforgettable weekend of racing. I had a chance to attend it for the first time, and I was not disappointed.

Arriving at the track Sunday morning, I was greeted by the sound of American V-8s storming around the course. I knew immediately it was the place for me.

A Chevy Corvette makes its way around the road course

On Sunday, the pace car for the races was driven by Indy racing royalty and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr.

The Track

The races took place on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. The roughly 2.4-mile course uses part of the main oval, including the start/finish straight, which is run backward from the standard Indy 500 configuration. The Road Course goes inside the oval and features two long straights and plenty of sharp turns. It also features different configurations.

A car takes the first turn of the course
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Spectators have several options when watching the road races. Along with the grandstands, several hills provide a vantage point to corners on the track.

Picture by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Classic Indy Cars and “Ragtime Racers”

Historic Indy cars and vintage race cars made exhibition laps around the track. The vintage race cars were brought by a group called “The Ragtime Racers.” Dressing in period-style clothes, they drive their antique machines on racetracks and at events around the country. Seeing the vintage cars on the track was an epic experience.

A line of early 20th century racecars
This 1916 racecar features an aluminum V-8 aircraft engine
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It was amazing to see race cars that are not only over 100 years old but getting driven around a racetrack. Restoring these machines was undoubtedly a serious undertaking, and the old cliché about if walls (or, in this case, cars) could talk certainly holds true.

Along with the vintage cars, there were a variety of mid-20th century IndyCars making exhibition laps. The ‘60s was a significant time for cars competing in the Indy 500. It heralded the phasing out of the front engine “roadsters” in favor of the modern mid-engine machines.

A mid-engine car on display
Plenty of racing history could be seen at the event

In my opinion, the streamlined roadsters of that era were some of the most beautiful race cars ever made—their sleek design and traditional front-engine layout made for a stunning racecar.

Classic roadsters on display
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The Races

The cars racing ranged from American muscle to open-wheel racecars. The variety of cars at the event made for some unique on-track combinations. For example, open-wheel cars shared the track with sports cars; some races had cars with decades of difference in age.

An Austin Healy Sprite, an iconic British sports car, crosses the famous bricks.
A classic MG heads down the front straight
A classic Mercedes Benz heads down the track

It was always fun to see what would come down the start/finish straight, the same front straight that just weeks before featured the cars of the Indianapolis 500.

When I arrived at the track Sunday morning, the Group 6 cars were up. While the Group 6 class encompasses a range of cars, those racing today were American V-8-powered machines like Corvettes and Mustangs.

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A classic Mustang charges down a straightaway
It was fun seeing classic cars competing on the track

It was a real thrill to hear the roar of the V8s and see the cars storm down a long straight.

When it comes to heritage, the Formula Vee class has lots of it. Founded back in 1963, it features air-cooled VW-powered open-wheel race cars. The idea being it would be an affordable style of racing.

Formula Vees getting ready to take to the track

Not only was watching the Formula Vee cars on the track fun, but when the top drivers pulled up for the award ceremony after the race, they couldn’t contain their excitement. They looked like they had about the most fun you could have racing.

A Formula Vee racecar waiting to race

After the Formula Vee race, a man next to me told me the story of one of the cars in the winner’s circle. He had built that car decades ago at his in-laws but had stopped racing at age 79. It’s not every day you get a firsthand account of a racecar’s history.

Later came the NASCARs, representing 20 years of cars, from 1987 to 2007. A NASCAR Pickup even competed.

Drivers preparing to take to the track
Drivers coming across the start/finish line

The winner, with a dominant lead, was professional NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek. Seeing him step out of his car up close in the winner’s circle was a definite highlight for me.

Professional NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek in the winner’s circle.
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The event produced some incredible sounds. The distinct tone of a classic Austin Healey Sprite barreling down the front straightaway of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was an unforgettable experience, as was the collective rumble of a field full of NASCARs.

Wrapping Up

I’m looking forward to attending more vintage races. You never know what cars you might see. Looking for more on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Check out my blog post about the track and museum and my blog post about my first trip to the Indianapolis 500.

The SVRA did an excellent job packing the event full of amazing racing. You can visit their website here. The Ragtime Racers did a great job bringing history to life on the track. Their website can be viewed here. Finally, you can see the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s website at this link. Did you attend the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational? Let me know in the comments!

5 responses to “The 2022 Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational”

  1. Joe Rothpearl Avatar

    Very Cool!!! Feel like I was there with you. Thank you for bringing the show to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joe Avatar

      Thank you for checking it out! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Like

  2. John Cunningham Avatar
    John Cunningham

    Some great cars there at the Brickyard, Joe. What a great event to attend. Some of the older racers are reminiscent of the cars that raced on the old board tracks in the US. A racing genre I am fascinated with, ever since I found a book about this form of racing in my local public
    Library back in 1968. Intetesting to see the pic of a lime green Austin Healy Sprite. I had one of those back in the day. Not much power but because it was so low to the ground it gave a great illusion of speed. Although I now live in Ireland I grew up in Birmingham, England, where these little cars were made,at the Austin factory in the Longbridge area of the city.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joe Avatar

    It is always good to hear from you John. I had a great time at the races. I’ve always liked the Sprites. They look like they would be a lot of fun to drive.
    I actually went to Ireland for the first time a few months ago for a vacation. I loved every minute of it and cannot wait to go back.

    Like

  4. John Cunningham Avatar
    John Cunningham

    Glad that you made it to Ireland Joe and enjoyed your time here.

    Liked by 1 person

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An Introduction to the Barrett-Jackson Auction

              For years the name Barrett-Jackson has been synonymous with high-end collector car auctions. Established in 1971, the Barrett-Jackson Auction is one of America’s best-known collector car auctions, attracting bidders from all over the world. The Jackson part of Barrett-Jackson is baseball great Reggie Jackson, himself a classic car lover. Often associated with rare classic muscle cars that go for upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the multi-day event has a diverse array of cars from many different manufacturers, spanning decades and even a few brand new ones, although the majority tends to be classic American cars. Several charities are represented at the auctions as well, with the money raised from cars going to them. They range from custom hot rods, ultra-original classics, resto-mods, and a few late model European cars as well. Part of the excitement of the auction is wondering what will be driven across the stage next. Bidding takes place in person, online, or over the phone. There is often a lot of excitement and energy that goes along with the bidding. Although there have been many ultra high-cost cars there is a wide range in regards to price, lower prices tend to be around the $20,000 mark. There are multiple Barrett-Jackson auctions throughout the year in the U.S. They even have their own year-round classic car showroom with cars for sale. Their website also mentions there is an automotive memorabilia auction as well. You can view their official website here: https://azure.barrett-jackson.com.
A Ford GT at the Barrett Jackson Auction. Picture by Rbdesimone
                     The Classic Car Auction Goes Mainstream.
               Barrett-Jackson receives live multi-day television coverage that spans a large part of the day. It also features numerous celebrities from the car world and beyond. With expert commentators, it almost feels like a sports event. In April of 2018, the auction was held in Palm Springs, Florida. Under and above car cameras help capture the action. Viewers could learn about cars by simply watching the coverage as the commentators delved into detail about them. There have been several records set at Barrett-Jackson as well. For awhile the record for the most expensive U.S. vehicle ever sold was set at the auction. The GM Futurliner, a unique RV/Bus looking vehicle that was used on promotional tours for GM. April of 2018, at the auction’s Florida location actor Burt Reynolds, auctioned off 3 of his personal Trans Ams and appeared on stage. One of which was an ultra-low mile Indianapolis 500 Pace Car complete with lights on the roof.
A GM FuturLiner. Picture by Binelli2011
Collector Car Auction and Beyond
               Barrett Jackson is a big event, with a lot going on not even counting the auction. They have their own line of merchandise. The multi-day event extends far beyond the indoor auction house. There is a lot to see and do not even counting the auction itself. As their website shows they have a diverse array of vendors as well. You can learn more about them here: https://azure.barrett-jackson.com/Exhibitor/Home As more and more cars become collectible, it seems the Barett Jackson Auction will be as popular as ever
Site of a Barrett-Jackson auction in Florida. Picture by Brett Levin Photography.