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Indianapolis Motor Speedway: The Brickyard

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy


#20 7/25/2010 Brickyard 400 ESPN 1 p.m.
2010 Winner Jamie McMurray

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History of Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway began as the vision of four men in 1909. Frank H. Wheeler, James A. Allison, Carl G. Fisher and Arthur C. Newby collectively worked together to build the speedway.

Their ideas would later be referred to as one of the world’s greatest race tracks.

On August 19, 1909 the Indianapolis Speedway opened it gates for the first automobile race at the track. The race was scheduled to be a three day event.

With all of the accidents that occurred during the race, it was quickly decided that the track needed to be paved for the driver’s safety.

The first Indianapolis 500, which was originally called the International Sweepstakes took place on May 30, 1911 and was won by Ray Harroun.

The Indianapolis 500 has since been an annual event, except during World War I and World War II.

The pace car was first introduced at the Indianapolis Speedway as a way to officially start the race.

The Race

Stock cars first began racing at the Speedway in 1994 at the first Brickyard 400.

Indiana native Jeff Gordon won the inaugural race for his second career win.

Since the inaugural race, NASCAR has competed annually the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Brickyard 400 is considered to be one of NASCAR’s top races with prize money to match. The winner will take home close to $500,000 and the last place driver can expect to win at least $138,000.

It is a tradition that the winner of the Indianapolis 500 drink milk in victory lane.

But NASCAR drivers traditionally 'kiss the bricks'. Sounds like a term for falling on your face.

But the winning driver and crew of the NASCAR race at Indianapolis will actually kiss the bricks at the start/finish line after the race. Dale Jarret started the tradition when he won the 1996 Brickyard 400.

Recent Brickyard 400 Winners

2010 Jamie McMurray
2009 Jimmie Johnson
2008 Jimmie Johnson
2007 Tony Stewart
2006 Jimmie Johnson

The Track

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is located on 1,025 acres, which includes the Administration Buildings, Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort and Inn and The Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, four of the holes are within the speedway itself.

The speedway also contains the famous garage area nicknamed 'Gasoline Alley'.

Today, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has more than 250,000 permanent seats. The Speedway can house more race fans than any other race facility in the world.

The 2.5 mile oval track has four very distinct straightaways and turns. Since the track opened in 1909, the layout has remained unchanged.

Both the front and back straightaways are each 3300 feet in length and have no banking. Between turns 1 and 2 and between turns 3 and 4, the straightaways are 660 feet. The banking on all four turns is exactly 9 degrees.

Originally the entire 2.5-mile speedway surface was made of crushed stone and tar. The nickname 'The Brickyard' originated in late 1909 because the entire track was covered with 3.2 million paving bricks.

Then in 1936 the track was partially resurfaced with asphalt. Finally in late 1961, the remainder of the bricks in the front straightaway were covered with asphalt. However, a 3 foot strip, known as the “Yard of Bricks” was left at the start-finish line.

Quite a few of the original bricks remain under the layer of asphalt.

On the grounds there is a museum called the Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. The museum is located between turns 1 and 2 in the infield. The museum is renowned for being one of the most highly visible museums.

There are approximately 75 different vehicles on display at any given time. On display, there are both current race cars as well as vintage ones and encompass the Indianapolis 500, The Brickyard 400 and Formula One cars.

Although the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been around since 1909, NASCAR didn’t begin racing there until 1994. From that time, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard has become one of the most popular races of the NASCAR season.

Many drivers, such as Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart have not only won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, but have also won the NASCAR Cup Series championship during the same year.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home to a variety of different races, however, it is one of NASCAR’s most popular tracks.

The large oval track, with the world’s largest seating capacity makes it possible for race fans to enjoy the race. No matter where you sit, you are sure to feel the history of the place and the excitement of the race.

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