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Bob Swanson’s Indianapolis 500 Collection

by KerryS (05/24/08).

With many people planning some rest and recreation along with family BBQs, the Indy 500 stands out as the highlight of the Memorial Day weekend and this year’s event is jammed packed with festivities any race fan would love to attend.

Indeed! In this year’s hoopla is the story of 23-year old Danica Patrick, the fourth woman to qualify for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, and unlike her predecessors, those in the know agree that she has a real shot at winning.

“This is a terrific opportunity for memorabilia collectors”, says Bob Swanson, Executive Director of the San Diego Automotive Museum. “Any trip to the Indianapolis 500 is likely to offer a collector many opportunities to acquire all sorts of items to add to your personal collection or offer to other collectors. This weekend’s race has the potential of making sports history. Should that scenario of a Danica Patrick win come to pass, there’s additional value to all the items you bring home”.

Having had the good fortune to attend the annual race, Bob took advantage of bringing home every program, yearbook, local newspaper, event parking tickets, special event entry tickets, badges, pins and pit passes he could lay his hands on. Some souvenirs are even autographed by racecar drivers.

Bob attended the race in 2006, the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500. He was thrilled by the excitement in the air as the racecars took to the track, each driver hoping to be drinking milk beside the gleaming Borg-Warner Trophy in Victory Lane. “Celebrate the Spectacle” was the theme that year and there were dozens of special events leading up to the big day.

One of the most prominent pieces of memorabilia in Bob’s collection is the front page of the local newspaper from the 2006 race that was won by only .0635 of a second or one car length. It was the second-closest Indianapolis 500 in race history. Sam Hornish Jr. was the winner that year. And 19-year-old rookie, Marco Andretti, grandson of the renowned racing great, Mario Andretti, couldn’t believe he was passed by Hornish in the last 150 yards.

Bob recounts how passes and badges got you into different levels throughout the stands. With certain placards getting you into the pits prior to the race, even to different areas within the pits. But his prize possession – the much coveted brass pin – was a ticket for a trip to the tower.

For those who attend the big race this year, take Bob’s advise! Bring every souvenir, program, newspaper and collectible item you come across back with you to remember the experience.

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