INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It is a tradition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the winner of any race to kiss the yard of bricks. This year race fans may notice something different about the iconic pathway.
Track staff are swapping out three of those bricks to honor living legends with hand-carved bronze works of art.
“We’re starting a new tradition, so it was a little bit of pressure,” Bud Tucker said.
Tucker’s place is typically behind the scenes.
“We do our job and we work around everything,” Tucker said. “Normally we just do facilities, repairs, bleachers, fence posts, cables.”
He’s the Indianapolis Motor Speedway welder and an artist. So when he was asked to create the bronze bricks to honor the three men who have won the Indy 500 four times, he was overwhelmed.
“Oh, I was so honored for them to just ask me to do this. I was so humbled and grateful,” Tucker said.
Using bricks from the yard itself, Tucker’s goal is to create something timeless and worthy of legends.
“The name and the dates they’ll all be hand-carved,” Tucker said.
The first to honor A.J. Foyt was placed one month ago by Tucker himself.
“That was an honor of a lifetime,” Tucker said.
A.J. Foyt’s brick is now secured and in place for the 103rd running of the Indy 500 Sunday. The other two bricks honoring four-time Indy 500 winners Rick Mears and Al Unser will be added at a later date.
And while most will never notice Tucker’s handy work on the bleachers and posts, they’ll see and remember those bronze bricks for generations to come.
“As an artist, it is really us leaving our mark on this place while we were here,” Tucker said.