The Once and Future ‘Indy Experience’


“With the stroke of a pen, Sir, their field of honor was a desktop....”

  • - General Harlan Bache (George C. Scott) in the movie TAPS, describing how Bunker Hill Academy was falling victim to urban sprawl.

1980. From the ‘helicopter year’, and its nitro finals on Tuesday morning with the ‘Minnesota Mafia.’ Plenty of hair and nice legs!

The good folks of Indianapolis and its surrounding communities knew it was coming for quite some time. I only live there one week a year, and suffice to say whether I’d be getting numbers off clipboards hanging on pit-control trailers in the ’70s, or grabbing Daily Dragsters in the ’90s, the information I was constantly gathering had little -- check that -- NOTHING to do with zoning or development or matters of asphalt and concrete. The only asphalt and concrete I was concerned with was the stretch of one thousand three hundred twenty feet that is the drag strip known as IRP, and who would be hoisting a trophy at the end of Labor Day weekend. After that, it’s time for me to say, “Hasta-la-bye-BYE, been a great summer, be back next year, C-YAAA!”

But four years ago, a reliable source (in the form of “Brother Rick” of the Minnesota Mafia) told me a story he had heard from a local that there was a road coming, and it was going through the campground that I’d been staying in since the 1980s. With each successive year and no bulldozers in sight, perhaps I became guilty of having my mail forwarded to the banks of a river in Egypt, because, being a male of the species, I’m prone to living in denial. When I checked in this year though, there was no denying that epic amounts of real estate had been roped off, trees were cut down and piled up in heaps, and the Reagan Parkway was going to camp out, but it had no intention of leaving.