Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:17 pm
When the carnage flies from high-speed collisions on the track during the Indianapolis 500 this Memorial Day weekend, Milwaukee-based Guiffre Brothers Cranes Inc. will be there to literally pick up the pieces.
For the third consecutive year, Giuffre Brothers Cranes has designed and constructed the “Official Indy 500 Recovery Vehicle,” a specialized, articulating boom truck to assure a fast, clean and safe response to incidents and accidents that occur during one of the world’s most watched sporting events.
“In racing and in television, a few seconds can be worth millions of dollars,” said Dominic Giuffre, vice president of Giuffre Brothers Cranes. “Most importantly, however, is the safety of the drivers and the public, and our specialized truck, unlike a conventional tow truck, provides the safest and most efficient way to deal with disabled vehicles during a race.”
Giuffre brothers Dominic and Frank are no strangers to the racing community. They have been actively involved in Indy-style racing for decades, both as team owners and race promoters at Wisconsin’s famous Milwaukee Mile racetrack.
“Racing flows in our blood, and can be traced back to the 1950’s when our Dad would work at racetracks,” said Dominic. “In 2011, when managers at Indy mentioned they wanted to develop a new high-tech recovery vehicle, one able to quickly reach out and safely evacuate a damaged car, it was only natural our team would be the one to design it, given our experience in the racing industry and our knowledge of cranes.”
Prior to 2011, Giuffre said, most United States racetracks used old-fashioned tow trucks to remove damaged and disabled vehicles from the track. Since Indy-style cars are towed by lifting them by a hook mounted near the center of the vehicle, the auto could easily bounce around, potentially creating a human safety hazard, more damage to the disabled vehicle or allow the dangling car to spill fluids like oil onto the track, creating a dangerous situation for the remaining drivers.
“Our design brings the old-fashioned wrecker into the 21st century,” said Giuffre. “Our plan was to design and build a special crane attached to a flat-bed truck that could lift, recover and clear a car from the track quicker and safer than the old version.”
Giuffre also noted another valuable trait. When the truck reaches the team’s garage, it can reach out and deposit the car directly on the floor inside the garage, rather than dropping it outside the garage door.
The Giuffre design team’s 2013 vehicle of choice is a combination Fassi hydraulic knuckle boom crane, mounted on a Freightliner M2 truck with an Allison automatic transmission and 20-foot flat bed.
Giuffre Brothers Cranes, which is celebrating its 50th year in business, is based in Milwaukee at 6635 S. 13th St. The company also has locations in Chicago, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Palm Beach.