I remember camping during the summer, and listening to the Indy 500 on the radio when I was about 10 years old. I discovered muscle cars when I started driving at 16 and began to love 1969 Camaros when my best friend got one. Shortly thereafter I had my own Camaro, a daytona yellow 1969 307 stick-shift with black hockey stripe. Alas it was destroyed when someone turned left in front of me. Shortly thereafter, I found a 1969 RS/Z28 in a used car lot for $1200. This was 1979, I was 18 and elated at the find!
Living in Michigan, the body had some rust problems, but then you could buy factory replacement panels for a song and I had a jobbers account at the local Chevrolet dealer. This picture was taken after I replaced the front clip with new factory sheetmetal. The quarter panels and rear panel were replaced shortly after, along with many of the potmetal emblems and trim.
This was about the time that the first Car Craft Street Machine Nationals started occurring in the mid-west. I poured over the event in the Car Craft and Hot Rod magazines at the time. My friends and I decided to make the trip to the 1980 Nationals in Indianapolis. We didn't know until we registered that you could take your car around the Indy 500 track as a special event during the weekend. Well, we waited close to 2 hours in line for our turn at the track. they were only allowing 2 cars on the track at a time, half a lap apart. You can imagine the street machine hardware that was overheating in that 90 degree humid weather while we waited. we shut down the Camaro and pushed it in line. When my turn came, there was a 55MPH sign right at the entry - bummer! Well we pushed it a little above that... On that 2 1/2 mile oval that was cambered so nicely, it felt like you could go as fast as your car could go. And indeed you likely could! As we neared the pullout, we noticed the Indy Pole where they listed the race order. I quickly stopped and my soon to be wife snapped the attached photo. we were quickly ushered off the track by the local event staff.
I had never imagined that I would have the chance to take my dream car around my dream track and will have this fond car memory with me forever.