Finally Made the 1974 Indy 500
by SF - Cedar Rapids Iowa
My parents had attended the 500 every year since 1958
missing only one in 1962 when yours truly was born on May
29th! Had they not turned around on the way, I quite easily
might have been born at the Speedway or at least in
Anyway I followed the 500 from the time I was about 7 or 8
taking the old glossy programs to school and dreaming of the
day I could finally attend the race myself.
The year was 1974 and and at the ripe age of 12 I was off to my
first Indy 500!
As I rode out in our pickup camper towards Mecca from our
home in Newton Iowa at the time, I started to get really sick at
my stomach. The further we went the worse I felt, at this point I
could not keep anything down and had a fever too. We stopped
along the way in a small town emergency room and they did
some tests and said my white count was very high thus indicating
I had appendicitis. We went on in to Speedway and we were
escorted down to Methodist hospital by motorcycle cops.
My operation was on Saturday and every thing went well, but
of course I was not getting out, not in those days. The race was
not broadcast on live TV at the time, so there I was listening to
my first race on a small AM radio!
My mom and dad did go to the race that day as they were not
going to be denied by me twice!
I got out of the hospital on Tuesday morning and we drove out to
the Speedway and there was still lots of trash around, unlike the
quick pickup of today. It was truly eerie, I could hear the crowd
and the race almost, and I did shed a tear or two. We went to the
old museum which was located outside turn one where the big
office building is today. Had to wait her out for a year, like
everyone else and saw my first race in 1975 and have not
missed one since! My father passed away in 1991 just a few
days after the race. My mother still goes and has not missed
one since 1962!
PREVIOUS STORY INDEX