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Indianapolis Here We Come!

Posted on: May 27, 2021

MY DAD WAS A RACE CAR DRIVER AND I GREW UP IN BLUE JEANS!
By Townehouse Resident Maxine Snelgrove

The green flag drops and the race cars enter the first corner of the quarter-mile dirt oval.

My dad, in an open cockpit #15 red V8 midget race car, is among them. Dust covers our vision. After eight laps the leader takes the checkered flag. Wins come hard but the satisfaction is in the racing. As a teenager and honorary pit crew member, I could go and be in the pits where you waited to get your position for the next race. If necessary, you might work on your car. Some days you would go home a winner qualifying for the semi-final or main race of 25 laps. A wreck meant you had a lot of repairs to do for the next weekend of racing. Dad did experience a few crashes such as hitting the fence, going off the side of a fenceless track, or connecting with another car. Once racing in Erie, he spent several days in the hospital, coming home with a steel plate in his broken arm. Your only safety was a helmet, googles, gloves, and a seat belt. Extending your arm to stop the car from rolling over does not work. “Fender benders” were common. Ultimate safety features are necessary now.

Living in western New York, Dad raced on dirt tracks often used for horse races. Races were held as part of a small town’s annual summer fair and carnival. A Fireman’s parade was held during the day. Dad would march, in uniform, as a volunteer fireman. He’d then change to his white pants, bright shirt, gloves and helmet to race.

There were many tracks around Buffalo, Rochester and Syacuse. We also went to Ontario, Canada, and into Pennslyvania. Dad pulled the race car on a trailer behind our ‘35 Buick Roadster. Mom, my sister and I always went, plus a two man pit crew. He eventually gave up racing but never watching. Through the years he and my mom went to many race events including the Memorial Day Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona NASCAR race in February. When my parents moved to California, Dad bought reserved seats at Phoenix International Raceway. Twice a year for ten years we went. Needless to say, when racing is on TV, it’s on in our home.

Indianapolis 500
Sunday, May 30,2021
NBC at 9 a.m.

Vintage picture of an Indy 500 race car

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  • My grandmother lives at the Ventura Townehouse and I feel confident that she is in good hands. They get her to her appointments and provide any aftercare that she may need. Everyone there is friendly and like family. I feel like I’m at home when I go there to visit her and eat with her in the dining room.

    Stacy B.
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