- Memorial Day Weekend is a time of reflection. In the Northwoods, it's the unofficial start of the tourist season. For the sports fan, it's also the weekend of the Indianapolis 500.
Ed Jacobsen owns the Northwoods Petroleum Museum just north of Three Lakes. It showcases just about anything linked to gas stations of the past.
He also shows alot of Indianapolis 500 items. A cut out of 85 winner Dan Sullivan. Old programs, even an illuminated beer sign. It's acutally illegal to display those in Indianapolis.
"I've listened, watched it since 1953," explains Jacobsen.
For 12 years, Ed worked for Esco fuel. They sponcered four drivers: AJ Foyt, Bobby Uncer, Jim Clark, and Dan Gurny. They combined to win at Indy 8 times. His "job" was like a paid vacation.
"I had to hand-deliver the decal so the handlers could put it on the car," Jacobsen said. "The company paid for everything. Got to rub elbows with the drivers."
After 1980, Ed made a couple of more trips to Indianapolis. By then, the race was shown live on television. But he still thinks about some those great memories and stories from the 70s.
"Al Unser was in his garage," Jacobsen describes. "I asked him if I could take a picture. He said, 'If you think it looks like a car than go ahead. It looks like a bucket of bolts to me.'"
So how different is the 500 today compared to years ago?
"The cars drive themselves," said Jacobsen. "The drivers back then had to slow down and speed up to pass. I still get goosebumps watching (the 500)."
Written By: Joe Dufek