1983: The greatest spectacle in big wheel racing

Posted at 5:30 AM, May 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-11 05:30:02-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Tom Carnegie was a familiar voice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway calling races for more than six decades.

But in May 1983, Carnegie called a race of a different kind: A big wheel 500 of sorts.

Held annually at the ECLC Learning Center on Sherman Drive, the big wheel race was preceded with the pageantry one would expect to see before the Indianapolis 500.

Children paraded around the track with tambourines, drums and maracas as the drivers awaited the green flag.

Calling the race alongside Carnegie was WRTV sports reporter Brian Hammons. The duo noted a near-perfect forecast for the race with overcast skies and temperatures in the 70s.

No small detail was overlooked as Carnegie noted, even the wheels of the big wheel machines were magnafluxed to ensure there were no equipment failures.

In all, there were four heats and the winners of each were treated to a ride around the track in the official pace car of 1983, a Buick Riviera Convertible.