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1909- Indianapolis Motor Speedway grand opening

August 19, 2022

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built on this day in 1909, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and was proclaimed a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The automobile racing circuit is the former home of the US Grand Prix and currently hosts the Indianapolis 500 and the Verizon 200.

Built on 328 acres of farmland, the Speedway was inaugurated by local businessmen as a testing facility for the region's growing automobile industry. And the idea was to hold occasional races at the track, with different manufacturers competing against each other.

Since 1936, every winner of the Indy 500 race has been awarded a pace car. And for the past few decades, the winner has been presented with an official street-legal pace car replica.

Quick Facts:

  • The Speedway was constructed at $3 Million, the equivalent of $86 Million currently.

  • The Speedway's construction broke ground on March 15, 1909 and took 5 months. It was completed August 14 of the same year.

  • The rectangular, oval dimensions of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have remained unchanged since its construction.

  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was designed by architects Carl G. Fisher, F.H. Wheeler, James A. Allison, and Arthur C. Newby.

  • The Indianapolis Speedway has four distinct turns and straightaways, and this layout has remained unchanged.

  • General Motors exclusively provides all pace cars used in racing.

  • Pacemaker Carl G. Fisher drove the Stoddard Dayton on the Indianapolis speedway in 1911.


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