4.25.13 (via IndyCar.com) Indiana State Sen. Tom Wyss recalled attending his first Indianapolis 500 in 1952 with his father.
“He would save all year to take my brothers and me to the ‘500’ and all we got were infield tickets, and when I got my career going I would take my dad. We had better seats, but I’ll never forget that first year,” the representative from Fort Wayne told Michael Andretti during a presentation of Senate resolutions recognizing the IZOD IndyCar Series team for its accomplishments during the 2012 season and its contributions to the state.
Wyss founded the Indiana Motorsports Caucus, whose purpose was to make sure the legislature understood the importance of motorsports to Indiana economically and through international media attention.
Indiana’s motorsports industry of about 1,600 companies contributes more than 23,000 jobs paying an average annual wage of $63,000, according to a recent Purdue University study. The industry also is indirectly responsible for 421,000 Hoosier jobs. Andretti Autosport, which competes in the IZOD IndyCar Series and all three rungs of the Mazda Rod to Indy ladder, employs more than 100 skilled people at its Indianapolis shop.
“The greatest thing about it is that every part of this state has a racing entity, whether it’s a track, a race shop or manufacturer,” Wyss said. “One of the reasons we wanted to start the motorsports caucus is to remind everyone that this is the motorsports capital of the world, not North Carolina.
“To the average person when they go to a race they see the car on the track but don’t recognize all that goes on behind the scenes, the economic impact teams such as Andretti Autosport have in the state.”