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Behind the Bricks: Last-ever tour of museum basement

Behind the Bricks: Museum basement

Interview with Jason Vansickle of IMS Museum

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The new episode of “Behind the Bricks” takes listeners and viewers down an elevator and through hidden hallways to a spot that has long held some of Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s most precious secrets.

In the fabled basement of the IMS Museum, track President Doug Boles gets to play two of his favorite roles — race fan and car lover.

“I get asked a lot of questions,” Boles says as he starts the episode. “But one I get all the time is just two words: “The Basement?’”

Mercedes W196 valued at $80 million (Image from IMS Productions/”Behind the Bricks”)

The basement houses dozens of cars that are in the museum’s possession but not part of the public displays on the main floor above. For decades, the area was off-limits to nearly everyone; it was not set up as a showplace, and an invitation to see the cars was highly coveted but extremely rare.

In recent years, the museum has allowed access, installing lighting and signs and offering paid tours.

That access is now over.

The Museum has stopped basement tours in preparation for a massive building-wide makeover. In November, work will start on a transformation from its current beloved but dated version into a more modern and interactive attraction.

The “Behind the Bricks” podcast tour aims to quench the curiosity of those who never landed a super-secret VIP view or got to take the recent guided tours.

In an interesting bit of symmetry, the podcast tour starts with the priciest car in the building and ends with what is likely the least expensive. The first is a Mercedes W 196 valued at $80 million. The second is a well-worn and sticker-covered van of Larry Bisceglia, known for being “first in line” at the track each May.

The podcast leaves it up to the listeners to decide which has greater value to them and the history of the track.

Van of Larry “First in Line” Bisceglia (Image from IMS Productions/”Behind the Bricks”)

The “Behind the Bricks” tour is in many ways, the last true exclusive basement tour. In the future form of the museum, much of the lower level will be open to the floor above as part of the general admission tour. The planners say it will be a display space for cars that have won the Indy 500.

A video version of the podcast is available here.

If you’d like to see the plans for the museum and help with the fundraising campaign, click here.