Sunday, April 17, 2011
IndyCar grasping at straws
Hot Wheels, Indy 500 team up for race day stunt
Hot Wheels is bringing its miniature world to life at this year's Indianapolis 500.
The toy brand that produces everything from tiny cars to customized tracks will install a 100-foot door with an attached orange ramp at the historic speedway - hoping to break the world record jump by a four-wheel vehicle.
"It is a feat of engineering, and it's a jaw-dropping sight when you see it," vice president of marketing Simon Waldron told The Associated Press.
There's no doubt the stunt will grab attention.
Organizers plan to suspend the large door, which will include a huge replica of the brand's so-called V-Drop off the door. It will take three weeks to put everything in place.
The stunt will take place in the fourth turn of Indianapolis Motor Speedway just hours before the May 29 race begins. Company officials expect the driver, whose identity is being kept secret until after the stunt, to break Johnny Greaves' current world record of 301 feet.
The driver could make more than one attempt if necessary and if conditions permit.
The door will be visible to fans throughout qualifying, which begins May 21, and all of race day.
"We'll set up a perimeter to keep people away before the race," Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus said. "Once it's over they'll be able to go back, but the large structure will still be there."
Though the driver will not be jumping over cars, motorcycles or any other props, organizers were concerned about obstructed views for fans and television cameras.
Waldron said they have come up with solutions though he did not provide details. Belskus insists the view shouldn't be a concern for those seated in the grandstands and that the track intends to sell ticket packages for the stunt.
Waldron is hoping this doesn't become a once-in-a-lifetime event at the 2.5-mile oval, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the first Indy 500 this year. He'd like it to become a part of the track's annual tradition.
Hot Wheels is a part of Mattel Inc.'s Wheels unit.