2011 Dallara IndyCar, “The Stinger.” Photos courtesy of Window World.
Project sponsor Window World calls the yellow and black 2011 Dallara IndyCar “The Stinger,” in honor of the similar-liveried Marmon Wasp that won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. Former Indy 500 driver John Andretti has taken The Stinger on a multi-year quest to obtain the signature of every living driver to have competed in the Indy 500, and currently, 249 of 273 driver’s names adorn the car’s bodywork. Later this week, Barrett-Jackson will auction the car in Indiana, with all proceeds going to support St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Some of the driver names will be intimately familiar to racing fans. A.J. Foyt’s name is displayed prominently, just above the Indy 500 Centennial logo in front of the cockpit, while the Unser family (Al, Al Jr., and Bobby) has their signatures on the left side of the engine cover, next to Johnny Rutherford, Tom Sneva and Danny Sullivan. Jim Rathmann, the 1960 winner, also has his name in this area, but passed away before he was able to sign it.
Some signatures are irreplaceable, and a reminder that no matter how much effort is made to improve racing safety, the sport will never truly be safe. Dan Wheldon signed the car after winning the 2011 Indy 500, but was killed in a crash later that same year. Justin Wilson signed the left front wing, but later died from injuries sustained during an August 2015 race at Pocono. Jason Leffler’s signature is on the car as well, and in 2013 the driver (best known for his NASCAR starts) died following a sprint car crash at Bridgeport Speedway. Drivers Gary Bettenhausen, Jerry Grant, and Bob Harkey also signed the car before passing on of more natural causes.
The remaining autographs include names both familiar (Gordon Johncock, Janet Guthrie, Bobby Rahal, Danny Ongais and David Hobbs, to name but a few) and obscure (Wim Eyckmans, who now owns a successful karting business; Phil Giebler, the 2007 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year; and Joe Gosek, an International Supermodified Association champion), but paint a picture of Indy 500 dreams over the decades. The 24 missing signatures are mostly foreign drivers who have been unable to make the trek to the United States since the project began.
The Stinger is more than just a rolling Dallara chassis, too. Built to 2011 IndyCar regulations, with a then-current aero kit, the car is powered by an engine donated by Honda (and said to be race-winning), and is fitted with a seat donated by 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon. Though eligible for vintage racing with Historic Sportscar Racing, Limited (HSR), this unique and irreplaceable bit of Indy 500 history will likely find its way into a museum or private collection.
The auction will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway, Indiana. Barrett Jackson expects the car to fetch in excess of $1 million for St. Jude’s at the sale, which will also include other racing memorabilia. For additional details about the car or the charity auction, contact Stinger@WindowWorld.com.