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Speedway Memorabilia Show offers great deals

Christopher DeHarde talks about the 2014 Speedway Memorabilia Show at Indianapolis.

Speedway Memorabilia Show offers great deals

The 2014 Speedway Memorabilia Show offers several people (myself included) the chance to see (and purchase) various collectibles and other racing-related items in the Pagoda Plaza area of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This year in particular, I had a set budget of around $200. After going around the various tables and seeing vendors I had bought from in previous years, I set out for a few items in particular that had eluded me.

My first item that I purchased was a Quaker State hat pin for $7. I found a 1986 CART media guide that a gentleman sold me for $3 and a Team Shierson press kit from 1985 that I got for $10. Media guides and press kits are starting to become something that I purchase yearly, as they contain many interesting press releases and other cool bits of information and photographs.

I also picked up a Team Menard press kit from 1995 for $5. The car Scott Brayton drove that year has to be one of the best looking cars that ever ran at the 500, and a crew shirt I got from that year remains a hot find for myself.

I picked up a CART “yearbook” for $5, but the title is The Men and Machines of IndyCar Racing, and it’s from 1990. My last purchase was a second edition of Mark Donohue’s book The Unfair Advantage for $10.

I had only spent $40 out of a $200 budget, which obviously means that in previous years, I had spent way too much. But, that was before the 500 Festival Parade.

Afterwards was another story entirely. I found an Indy Review book from 1992 for around $10 and a 1992 Galmer G92 IndyCar cutaway for $5. However, I also found a 1993 plastic model kit from Tamiya that was a Raul Boesel car for $25. My plan is to build an airbrushed model of Roberto Guerrero’s 1992 pole winning car for the Indy 500. However, to do that, I need some decals, which can be bought from one of the vendors I spoke with today.

Michael Portaro runs Indycals, a website that sells Indy 500, Formula 500, Formula One and other various decals and other parts for scale model builders, and even had some for sale.

“[I’ve sold] a lot of resin tires, a lot of old model kits come with tires that are inaccurate or just absurdly wrong, so I started making some of my own tires,” Portaro said.

He also makes a profit from the trip as well.

“I go home with more money than I come with, it’s nothing huge, it’s more about meeting the people and interacting with them and you meet a lot of great people.”

Another vendor at the show that I spoke with was Jim Leary of Race City Precision Miniatures. He’s now based out of Mooresville, North Carolina but was originally from Pennsylvania and has followed IndyCar racing since the days of Trenton. He elaborated on the logistics involved with setting everything up.

“It takes probably about two hours to unload and set up. Today it’ll be about an hour to download, depending on whether we can get our vehicles in here. […] We got here the other night about 7 o’clock, the previous event was still kind of set up in here and were taking that down, and they got this place turned around real fast, we were out of here probably by 9:30-9:45,” Leary said.

The final vendor I spoke to was Eric Hensley, and he is a model builder and die cast converter that has built numerous models for various racing teams. This year, he built several cars for Lazier Partners Racing. Although he doesn’t make a profit overall for the month of May, in the long run, it helps him instead of hurting him.

“By the time I pay for race tickets and hotel and everything, […] I’ll lose money, but if I take that into account what I will do for cars, I’ll probably break even with the Lazier Partners project in general,” Hensley said.

His attitude, though, wasn’t about the money, especially with some of the people he’s done work for.

“It’s more for the love [of the sport] than for the profit, it really is.”

At the end of the day, I ended up spending $80 of my $200 budget. Job well done.

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