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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

Hot Wheels to attempt world record jump at Indy 500

April 12, 2011
KEYWORDS Sports Business

The long-awaited Hot Wheels-Indianapolis Motor Speedway announcement finally came Tuesday morning.

Speedway officials unveiled plans to construct a life-sized Hot Wheels track in the infield of the famed Brickyard, where a mystery stunt driver will attempt a world-record jump for a four-wheeled vehicle the morning of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

Izod is helping sponsor the stunt, but financial details were not disclosed. Track-building experts estimated that such a project could cost about $1 million to construct.

Hot Wheels spokesman Simon Waldren said the life-sized Hot Wheels track will be “a feat of engineering.” The vehicle to be jumped will be a full-sized truck on a modified frame, Speedway spokesman Doug Boles said. The vehicle has already been built and will be on display at an event in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

IMS officials said 22 semi-trailer loads of materials and equipment needed to build the Hot Wheels track arrived this week at the Speedway. More truckloads of materials will arrive later this week, Boles said. Construction will begin April 25, and the track should take about three weeks to complete.

The current world-record jump is 301 feet, held by Johnny Greaves. Adding intrigue to the event at the Speedway, the Hot Wheels stunt car will be piloted by a “masked mystery driver,” according to Hot Wheels officials.

Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus first told IBJ about the possibility of a “huge, eye-catching stunt” with Hot Wheels in January. Originally, the project included a loop, but that idea was scrapped, Speedway officials said, because it was “logistically impossible.”

Mattel Inc., the maker of Hot Wheels, will construct a 100-foot-tall door (equal to 10 stories) with an attached orange ramp near the fourth turn. The car will be dropped from the track mounted atop the door, and will be sent “soaring” across the Speedway’s infield, according to Mattel officials.

The set-up is being designed to look like the miniature track set that has been a top-selling Mattel item since the 1970s.

Mattel is conducting the stunt, called Izod Presents Hot Wheels Fearless at the 500, in conjunction with the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, and officials for the California-based toy maker said they expect it to get worldwide attention. Mattel officials said they hope the stunt can become an annual event.

“By featuring an epic vehicle stunt at this year’s centennial anniversary of the Indy 500, we are engaging fans with a jaw-dropping moment in a way that only Hot Wheels can,” Waldren said.

The IMS on Tuesday released two special ticket packages in conjuction with the Hot Wheels event. A special ticket for the North Vista is available for $90, and in the H Stand for $80.

Speedway officials promised the stunt track won't hamper race viewing.

"The way the door will sit, there won't be any obstruction at all," Boles said. "There's no obstruction at all from this from the viewpoint of any of the seats."
 

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