Hunting for Diecast at the Indy 500

By Karl Schnelle

Sunday, May 29th, was the 100th running of the Indy 500, the famous 500-mile race in Indianapolis, IN USA.  I have lived in Indy for more than 20 years and have been to practice and qualifying on the days leading up to the big race, but only once to the race itself.  A friend offered to buy a block of tickets, so I decided that I had to attend this one, being the 100th running.   The first race was held in 1911 and won by Ray Harroun in the  yellow #32 Marmon Wasp (in the photo below during the 2016 parade lap).  The races were not held during WWI and WWII, thus the 100th running is this year.


I went to the vintage race car laps on the day before and thought that was even more interesting than the race itself. (You can tell I am not a huge Indy Car fan!) The 1968 fluorescent STP Lotus turbine on the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), the 1965 Lotus, and the 1915 Duesenberg on the track are shown below.

1968 Lotus turbine on the track

1965 Lotus ready to run

1915 Duesie on the track

But the reason for this post is to talk about what diecast cars I found during the big weekend.  I thought there might be a few stands inside the gate and dealers outside the fence with Indy cars and maybe even other race cars. I did find a few places that had model cars for sale, but nothing like what was there for the Formula 1 race (from 2000-2007 at IMS).  No 1/43 at all were found which is the scale I collect.  Not too surprising since Indy Car is US based and American collectors go for 1/64 and 1/18th scale!

Inside the track, one of the biggest teams, Team Penske, had a large tractor trailer (18-wheeler) with fan merchandise.  They had  a few 1/18 from Greenlight (see below).

Team Penske

The official IMS gift shops had a few diecasts as well, but they were swamped with fans, with a few looking at the 1/64 or 1/18 Indy Cars.  Again all by Greenlight:

IMS gift shop

IMS gift shop2

Then, I was off to the perimeter around the track; for Formula 1, there were a dozen or more stands on the side of the road.  However in 2016, I found only a couple with Indy Car diecast, no other types of racing cars.  One stand did have a mix of 1/64 Greenlight and Auto World.   GL has had the license for a few years now, but AW had it in 2014 only, I think.  So these were old stock that someone could have picked up:

auto world

Also, outside the track, there was a table of 1/18 with the unusual Stinger (yellow in yellow box) that I did not see any place else.   The Stinger is a fund raising model car based on the modern Indy Car but with color from the first winner in 1911: the Wasp had a Stinger-shaped tail!!!


The most exciting part of the weekend might have been the Hot Wheels display, though, for the kid in all of us.  In the infield (inside the oval)  was a huge multi-loop loop-d-loop.  Kids could pick up a Hot Wheel from a bin and climb to the top to race it down the track!

loop d loop

Even better, Hot Wheels made a Hot Wheels Trophy with a car for each winning driver!  Check out the video of it being made.  Before and after the race, it resided at the Children’s Museum here in Indy.

Hot Wheels Trophy

So lots of big and small Greenlight Indy Cars, a few 1/64 Auto Worlds, and a bunch of kids playing with Hot Wheels.  That sums up my diecast hunt at the 100th running of the Indy 500.

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