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Today In History: Inaugural Indianapolis Motor Speedway Race

Posted in Newsworthy, Racing by Suzanne Denbow | August 19th, 2008 | Leave a Reply |
Four Founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. From Left: Arthur Newby, Frank Wheeler, Carl Fisher, James Allison

Four Founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. From Left: Arthur Newby, Frank Wheeler, Carl Fisher, James Allison

On August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators witnessed the first series of automobile races at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Featuring a total of 16 racing events spanning over a 3-day period, the Speedway was closed almost immediately after the event when poor track conditions resulted in the deaths of 6 people [two drivers, two mechanics, and two spectators]. The track, which was originally composed of loose gravel and tar, was found ultimately responsible for the fatalities and was promptly replaced by approximately by a traditional brick-and-mortar layout. To cover the 2.5 miles of track, approximately 3.2 million bricks were used, thus earning the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the nickname it still bears today, “The Brickyard.”

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