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THE GHOST OF INDY'S PAST
Kim Chapin
May 15, 1978
Every May Jim Hurtubise wraps his scarred hands around the wheel of an outmoded racer to celebrate the days when the small could be mighty
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May 15, 1978

The Ghost Of Indy's Past

Every May Jim Hurtubise wraps his scarred hands around the wheel of an outmoded racer to celebrate the days when the small could be mighty

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"I built that car," shrugs Hurtubise. "It was a good car, a winning car."

Late in the afternoon Herk begins his rounds. He stops at the Raceway Inn Tavern and then at the Hitching Post, two roadside attractions just beyond the Indianapolis city limit in the village of Clermont. He talks with the patrons about fishing, and the cold weather, and he drinks his Billy Beer in honor of a new friend, whom he had met at the Speedway the previous May. Hurtubise and Billy Carter reportedly got along famously, and there was even talk that Carter would take some of his new-found wealth and sponsor Hurtubise on the NASCAR circuit. "Haven't heard from him recently, though." says Jim.

Finally, he goes to the lounge of the Speedway Motel, where for several hours over dinner and drinks he inveighs good-naturedly against the racing Establishment and mourns the passing of the time when a Hurtubise could take a pretty good shot at Indianapolis. Herk had taken some of the best.

One man in particular, a stranger, shows unusual interest. Hurtubise pays him little heed until, during a lull, he is informed that the stranger is a man of means who likes racing.

Herk snaps to attention. "Wanna buy a race car?" he says. "We can win the 500." Erk, erk, erk.

A few days later Hurtubise heads for Texas. He has heard there is somebody down there interested in buying a used stock car, and besides, the fishing promises to be good.

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