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Road & Track

Road & Track August 2016

Road & Track includes technical features on automotive subjects, wide-ranging feature stories, spectacular automotive art and standard-setting new-car photography, humor, fiction, travel stories, book reviews and the most comprehensive racing coverage offered by a monthly magazine.Bonus: iPad Interactive

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United States

in this issue

1 min.

American racing grows out of the fertile soil of small-town ovals. That was true in the days of Foyt, Andretti, and Earnhardt. It remains so today. Although many dusty tracks have disappeared to make way for shopping malls or because fans stopped coming, plenty still spring to life on weekends with the roar of midgets, winged sprints, and late-model stock cars. Photographer SAROYAN HUMPHREY paid tribute to this threatened yet somehow still-thriving culture by pointing his lens at active tracks throughout Northern and Central California. Stars have risen out of these circuits—from 1950s Indy 500 legend Bill Vukovich to current NASCAR driver Kyle Larson. But most who battle at these tracks on any given night expect no high-profile ride, no big-money sponsorship, not even a mention in Road & Track.…

4 min.

Dear R&T, I used to dream of being reincarnated as one of my wife’s cats—pampered and spoiled by a beautiful woman. But that has all changed: Now I dream of coming back as Sam Smith and driving the most amazing machines in the history of the world [“Indy!” May]. Lucky bastard. KEITH KEPLINGER, MARIETTA, GEORGIA Dozens of cameras and days of coverage have never brought me as close to what happens on the track at Indy as Mr. Smith’s words and Mr. Pardon’s pictures. BILL BERNER PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA Thank you, Sam, for awakening the passion. BILL RINGELSTEIN PUNTA GORDA, FLORIDA I could hear the engines of classic machines at idle and at full song. Feel the heat of the exhausts, the wind pulling on my helmet, the stability from the ground effects. And watch the empty stands flash by…

3 min.
editor’s letter

WHEN I WAS A CAR-CRAZY KID growing up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, I lost count of the times I was warned, “Slow down, Mario, this isn’t a racetrack,” because I was running through the house or tearing around on my Schwinn Sting-ray. Having watched the man compete in USAC races at Trenton Speedway numerous times, my parents were of course referring to none other than Mario Andretti. If there was one man at that time (or any time) universally associated with going fast, it was that “Mario.” So imagine my disbelief when my dad asked if I would not mind missing the last day of elementary school to join him for a TV commercial shoot with the real Mario, at a real racetrack. The spot would promote Mario Andretti Grand Prix…

5 min.
getting away

I FOUND THE CAR ON CRAIGSLIST. It’s always Craigslist these days, unless of course it’s Bring a Trailer, or Twitter, or that guy I know back East with the large collection of old BMWs who sometimes lets things go for reasonable prices, and really, Sam, this one has the right gearbox and no rust don’t you want it question mark slight pause OF COURSE I DO. But this one was Craigslist. The ad had been up nine days. An eternity in Internet terms. I live in Seattle. The only things that sit unsold on Seattle Craigslist for nine days are moldy Volvos and used flannel shirts. Around dinnertime on a Friday, I called on it. Forty-nine years old, but original black paint, original red leather, drivable, so cheap it was almost free. You…

19 min.
open-air market

IT IS THE WORK OF A MOMENT, a sleight of hand. I’m heading down 12th Avenue, the silhouette of One World Trade Center in the windshield, just half an hour before the stroke of midnight. Late in the evening, as the song says, and all the music seeping through: in this case, the symphony of New York City, louder than the stereo, even though the windows are up. “Look at that,” my companion says, and she points to a space just to the left of the Freedom Tower’s muscular spire. The clouds have parted and the full moon is shining, just for a moment. In a single motion, I reach up and pull the clamp holding the Miata’s soft-top in place, then wrist-flick the handle back. We’re open to the sky…

8 min.
the american italian

MARIO ANDRETTI WAS BORN IN MONTONA, ITALY, in February of 1940. In 1955, he immigrated to America with his parents. In 1959, he began racing stock cars in his home state of Pennsylvania. More than half a century later, he is one of the most successful drivers in history, to say nothing of a mononymic cultural legend who needs no introduction. Still, few résumés are this much fun to rattle off: Daytona 500 winner, 1967. Indy 500 winner, 1969. Formula 1 world champion, 1978—one of just two Americans to win the title. Four-time IndyCar champion. Factory driver for Ford, Lotus, Ferrari. A Sebring winner who’s stood on the podium at Le Mans. The all-time leader in IndyCar pole positions, all-time IndyCar lap leader, and a man the Associated Press named…