It’s officially race week. Yes, the Indy 500 — aka “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” — roars to life on Sunday.
Fans of racing, fast cars, or major sporting events are probably already planning to tune in and watch the Indianapolis 500 (noon Sunday on ABC).
But here’s a reason for fans of Scouting to watch: The No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car, driven by Justin Wilson and provided at no cost to the BSA through the generosity of Dale Coyne Racing, has a good chance to do really well. The car was the second-fastest Honda engine qualifier, and Wilson has proven himself a successful driver on big stages like this one.
On that note, Indy 500 is easily the biggest national sporting event of the year from which we can spread the news that Scouting is relevant, exciting, and perfectly linked to science, technology, engineering, and math.
Think about it. Some 6.8 million viewers watched last year’s race. If this year’s race gets similar numbers, that’s a lot of eyeballs seeing the words “Be a Scout!” and the website BeAScout.org zoom around the Indy oval. And if the car does well, that’s even more air time.
It’s essentially free advertising, all made possible by the gifts of Dale and Gail Coyne.
All this week, Wilson and the Dale Coyne Racing team are preparing the car for Sunday. And John R. Fulton Jr., former director of photography for Scouting and Boys’ Life magazines, is at the speedway to document their preparations. He sent in these great photos:
An important reminder about BSA Racing
In past blog posts about BSA Racing, some commenters intimated that the Boy Scouts of America was investing heaps of its own money to support these cars. That’s not true. In fact, the program is a royalty-free arrangement, meaning that thanks to the generous support of Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar, and Scott Lagasse Racing, there’s no cash investment from the BSA.
Instead, in return for the support from those three groups, the BSA lists them as national sponsors in its promotional materials — that’s it. It’s the kind of relationship where everyone sees the checkered flag.
All photos copyright John R. Fulton Jr. and may not be reused without permission.