Month of May

Indianapolis 500 memorabilia collecting gains popularity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s often the sights and sounds of the Indianapolis 500 that are talked about, but it’s the memories created that keeps people coming back.

“I love it, I kept coming back since the first time I was in the garage,” said memorabilia collector, Kendall Wildman.

There are all kinds of things people collect pertaining to the Indy 500.

“Everybody has their specialty items, maybe it’s pit badges, and tickets, and programs,” said collector Craig Huffman.

“Things from the early 1900’s, to driver used items like helmets, gloves, and things like that,” Wildman said.

Kendall Wildman and Craig Huffman have been collecting Indy 500 memorabilia for years. Both men say their love for the 500 started like a lot of people, by going and watching a race. It was the access to the drivers, and the keepsakes they walked away with that got them hooked.

“When my dad took me to Indy in 1991, we went to the Silver Crown race, the Hulman 100 the night before the race, and Jeff Gordon won that night. We got to go down into the pits, I got to meet Jeff Gordon, he was just a young kid at that time. That moment is what hooked me,” Huffman said.

“You can see them working on the cars, the teams working on the cars, the drivers are very accessible. It’s second to none,” Wildman said.

They say every collector has a favorite piece. For some it might be something sentimental.

“I have a Jack Hewitt race used suit and helmet, really rare items. He was one of my heroes,” Huffman said.

Others it might be a piece that is hard to get your hands on.

“I have Dan Wheldon’s 2004 Indy 500 helmet,” Wildman said.

The two men love collecting so much they’re actually hosting the largest Indy 500 memorabilia sale, with 170 other vendors in attendance, to buy sell and trade memories and they’ll be there looking for the next item.

“My wife will tell me I have enough, but yeah it’s something we do. We buy sell trade year round,” Wildman said.

“It’s a tradition for people to come. It’s a tradition for people to buy a souvenir to take home. They’ve got their own personal collectible they want to take home from the 500, it’s unbelievable how passionate people are about the Indy 500,” said Huffman.

The memorabilia sale will be from 3-8 p.m. May 27 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 28 at Plainfield Expo Center.

This story has been updated to indicate where the memorabilia sale will happen.