Indy 500 fan, 74, enjoys view from South Vista

Kevin Rader with Harold Stocker

Every year it seems like race fans start getting to their seats at the track earlier and they are staying longer.

There is always a secret. Some race fans like to get there early. Some like sit by themselves and some, like Harold Stocker, just like to take it all in from the deck of the South Vista.

"We got good seats here," he said.

Harold is 74, but he doesn't mind the climb.

His first Indianapolis 500 was 1968. The new turbine engines were getting all the attention before the green flag dropped and seemed to be living up to all that hype, until the very end.

"Then they got to the last number of laps. One after another after another they dropped out because of a very cheap mechanical failure," he said.

We asked him what his favorite race has been over the years.

"Believe it or not, last year's race was one of my favorites" because "It was so competitive."

If you press him, he admits he's missed two races for his sons' graduations. There are some things he misses about the old days.

"From the first of May to Memorial Day a whole bunch of things were going on. Now they cut that back," he said.

His favorite driver?

"I couldn't help but like AJ Foyt. Very controversial. Very competitive. Sort of a version of Bobby Knight. A car racing version of Bobby Knight," he said.

So it doesn't take a rocket scientist, or in Harold Stocker's case, a mechanical engineer, to figure out how many more years he'll be able to hear Back Home in Indiana before he's called home.

"I'll come to the race every year as long as I can," he said.

Who can blame him? He wants to hear those words that have echoed throughout his lifetime.

"Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!"

"You couldn't talk me out of those tickets for nothing," said Harold.