What other line of work would race drivers prefer?
Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti dream of being fighter pilots, Lyn St. James would like to be President of the United States, Dominic Dobson and Jacques Villeneuve would be musicians and Roberto Guerrero would be a tennis or golf professional, according to a survey of drivers by a watch manufacturer.
But how about Stan Fox and Hiro Matsushita? Fox would like to take Tonya Harding for a lap around Indy; Matsushita dreams of being Indiana Jones.
Of the 33 drivers in Sunday's 500, only one, Fittipaldi, has a vanity license plate: EF 500.
Not satisfied with being the fastest woman in closed-course racing, and qualifying ahead of three former Indianapolis 500 winners, St. James is planning an assault on Al Teague's piston-driven land speed record of 409.9 m.p.h. Her husband, Roger Lessman, is in charge of the program.
A streamliner, designed by Indy car builder Bob Riley of Indianapolis, is expected to be ready to run at the Bonneville Salt Flats next year. It will be fueled by natural gas, Lessmansaid.
St. James had a top speed of 234 m.p.h. during her qualifying run, but she still isn't the fastest driver in the family. Roger ran 292.719 in 1989 at Bonneville.
If rookie Bryan Herta can win the 500 from his 22nd starting position Sunday, he will earn a $1-million "Slo Poke" bonus from a candy maker. Herta is the slowest qualifier for the race.
No slowest qualifier has ever won. Gary Bettenhausen came closest when he finished third after starting 33rd in 1980.
The lowest starting position of a winning driver is 28th by Ray Harroun in 1911 and Louis Meyer in 1936.