5.4MB .wmv video clip of Tony's   

qualifying run at the 1970 Indianapolis 500

and the two other cars mentioned above.

     Soon, Tony was invited to try the Thermo-King Gerhardt that Gary Bettenhausen had qualified the previous year at 167.77.  At the time, that was good for the 3rd row, starting just ahead of Dan Gurney.  That sounded promising, but something was dreadfully wrong.  The Gerhardt was bog slow.  They had tried several different drivers to no avail.  Gary Bettenhausen himself could do no better than 160 in it, nearly eight mph slower than he'd managed the previous year.  Tony managed 161, but then the car bit him.

     Tony says:  "I knew the car wasn't right but the crew said don't worry about it, cranked the wastegate closed for max boost and sent me out.  That gave the me 1,000 horsepower instead of 800.  As I applied throttle coming out of turn 1, the boost kicked the car.  In my inexperience, I got up in the gray, remembered what Roger McCluskey told me: 'When in that situation, spin it to the infield'.  I did three 360's heading toward the short chute wall between 1 & 2. I started pumping the brakes to no avail, it just brushed the outside wall.  Damage to the car was minor, but it couldn't be repaired in time for another qualifying attempt.

     In my panic, I forgot the brake pedal was not in the center as normal, it was to the very left of the cockpit.  All the time I was punching the brake pedal, it was actually the clutch! 

     I was royally screwed at Indy to say the least.  If Andretti, or Unser had to carry my yellow qualifying lap, they wouldn't have made the race either.  I didn't think I'd ever recover from the Indy fiasco.  It was my worst bad dreamUnless I was able to pull off a major sponsorship, I would never run an Indy car again.

     The Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association awarded me the Jigger Serois award.  It's the award no one wants, presented annually to the driver who endures the worst hard-luck at Indy.

     I didn't get an opportunity to qualify another car.  I just watch in agony as I was bumped from the field.

     I worried it might cripple my career, but as things turned out, I enjoyed racing on every continent but Australia.

A year earlier, Gary Bettenhausen qualified the Gerhardt in the third row

    With the sound of a Turbo Cosworth in the background, Tony considers the #45 Weinberger Homes Eagle, a four year-old car that Ronnie Bucknum had driven the year before.  Bucknum had qualified it at 166.6, so the car should have been OK.

    But Tony soon discovered that Al Miller had practiced in it on Monday the 18th, and walked away without comment.  Worse yet, NASCAR star Charlie Glotzbach had spun it three different times and also walked.

    Tony wisely resumed his search, making the rounds of various garages in Gasoline Alley looking for a decent ride.

              Indy-500,   May, 1970    cont.

Tony decided against trying the old #45 Weinberger Homes Eagle

Tony leaps out of the slightly damaged #78 Thermo-King Gerhardt

Tony later consoled himself, realizing that Dan Gurney was right when he said:  "Nobody ever remembers who finished second at this place".

Tony looks over his shoulder and thinks:  I'll tell 'em its got a radiator leak.

The world's best drivers have ridden in Conkle's darned ambulance.

Tony Adamowicz, Gary Wheeler, Tony a2z, Tony Adamowics, a2zRacer, Gary Wheeler, Tony Adamowicz







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