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Aerial of 500 Mile Indianapolis Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Written by Julie Greiner
The Indy 500 race was first held in 1911 and ever since, except for the war years, 1917-18 and 1942-45. The Speedway was built as an auto testing facility in 1909 on 328 acres of farmland. Four turns, each banked at nine degrees and 12 minutes and measuring exactly 440
yards from entrance to exit, were linked together by a pair of long straights and, at the north and south ends of the property, by a pair of short straights to form a rectangular-shaped 2 mile track as dictated by the confines of the available land.

It Started with Bricks

3,200,000 paving bricks were imported by rail from the western part of the state in the fall, laid on their sides in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar, this inspiring the nickname "The Brickyard". Carl Fisher and James Allison were the original owners. They envisioned it as
Indianapolis Speedway Race Car
an event of gigantic proportions offering a huge purse.

Indy 500 Mile Race

On May 30, 1911 - Memorial Day - a grueling 500-Mile race paying $14,250 to win took place. The then huge purse attracted international attention and thus the inaugural Indianapolis 500. Asphalt was used to cover over the straight-aways in 1936. The last of the bricks were covered over in 1961. The famous yard of bricks is still exposed at the start/finish line. The track has changed ownership twice. Carl Fisher a main developer in Miami and Jim Allison's engineering company sold IMS in 1927 to a group headed up by
WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker. Rickenbacker had driven in several 500s before he became a pilot. One of Rickenbacker's first actions was to install an 18-hole golf course on the grounds in 1929 - the Brickyard Crossing and home of a Senior PGA Tour golf tournament held each September. The Speedway deteriorated during the war years and then was sold in 1945 to Terre Haute, Indiana, businessman Anton "Tony" Hulman, Jr. Hulman repaired the track and brought the 500 back. Hulman passed away in 1977. Members of the Hulman family perpetuate the traditions of the
Indianapolis Speedway Old 500 Race Car
Speedway - now encompassing 559 acres - while continuing to transform it beyond the wildest imaginations of its founders.

Brickyard 400 NASCAR

In 1994 NASCAR stock car - The Brickyard 400 started. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway gives a warm welcome once again to Jay Leno, as he assumes the duties of Pace Car driver for the eighth running of the Brickyard 400 - 2001. Jay piloted the Chevrolet Monte Carlo Pace Car at the 1999 Indianapolis 500, and he is returning in August to start the Brickyard 400.

Hall of Fame Museum

The Hall of Fame was created in 1952 for the purpose of perpetuating the
Indianapolis Speedway
names and memories of outstanding personalities in racing and the development of the automobile industry. A distinctive Hall of Fame Medallion is awarded to each inductee, while their name is inscribed on a permanent trophy in the museum. The Hall of Fame Museum is on the grounds of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a National Historic Landmark since 1987. Displayed are more than 75 racing cars, including Indianapolis winners as well as race cars from internationally renowned motorsports events world wide. Also displayed are several examples of early antique and classic passenger cars. Many of these cars were built here
Indianapolis Speedway Race Car Display
in Indianapolis, such as Stutz, Cole, Marmon, National and Duesenberg. Three of the first four 500 winning cars are permanently on exhibit, including the Marmon "Wasp" which won the first 500-Mile Race in 1911. The Marmon "Wasp" was the first single seat race car and its is believed was the first automobile to make use of the rear view mirror.
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Last Updated: September 23, 2015