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The front page of the May 15, 1974 issue of National Speed Sport News. (SPEED SPORT Archives photo)

From The Archives: Streakers Bare All At Indy

Editor’s Note: As part of SPEED SPORT’s 90th anniversary, we are looking back through the archives at some of the memorable moments in motorsports history. This installment looks back at the rain-marred pole qualifying day for the 1974 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as reported in the pages of National Speed Sport News.

Attendance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Saturday’s opening time trial day was lowest in years.

Educated guesses put the turnout at 150,000 or less. This compares with previous estimates of 250,000 to 300,000.

Two reasons were given. A severe weather forecast calling for “100 percent chance of rain” was made throughout the Midwest Friday. Rain fell in the morning before the track opened at 11 a .m and interrupted the trials at 12 25 for 3 hours and 6 minutes. Rain finally ended the trials for the day at 4:20 p.m.

The crowd became unruly during the delay and 14 persons were arrested as a wave of nudity and “streaking” reached epidemic proportions at the track.

A pleasant mood turned ugly when fans threw a beer bottle at a State Trooper.

Many hundreds of young people congregating inside turn one were tossing nude companions into the air on blankets.

Finally, one grandstand patron disrobed, climbed the wheel fence near the start/finish line, and ascended the ladder to the new starter’s tower. He waved the checkered flag amid the cheers of the young crowds in the stands and in Tower Terrace stands.

While descending he fell the final 15 feet to the track and was escorted — still nude — to the field hospital for treatment by track guards.

At one point five males and one female “streaked” turn one in formation after climbing the infield fence.

Police looked the other way.

A.J. Foyt was the fastest of the 15 drivers who qualified on the rain-shortened opening day of qualifying.


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