News & Multimedia

Plenty Of History, Tradition At Turn One Gate At IMS

Friday, March 23 marked what is becoming another Indianapolis Motor Speedway tradition and a sure sign that the Indianapolis 500 will soon be upon us. The placing of the racing flags atop what is now called the Turn One Gate (it used to be called Gate 1) began in the late 1990s as a way to celebrate and announce the beginning of a new IndyCar season. But it is the history of the gate, and what it has meant to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that intrigues me.

From 1909 until 1973, this Turn One Gate served as the main gate to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 1973, the current four-lane tunnel under the south end of the track was constructed and, Gate 2 as it was called, became the center of activity and has served since that time much more like a main gate than Turn One Gate.

The reason the main gate was located at the corner of what is now 16th and Georgetown Road is because it was right across from where the railroad ran. There was either a small station, or at least a pick-up and drop-off point, that served the farming community but made for easy access to and from IMS. The approximate location of the stop is immediately south of the current administration building, about where the gas station is located on 16th Street.

The rail lines were placed around 1870. The tracks’ angle was in line from Union Station in Indianapolis on to Crawfordsville, Ind., and points beyond. When Lem Trotter brought Carl Fisher out to look at the farm property for sale, one of Trotter's selling points was that the large portion of the general public which did not own an automobile could get to events at the proposed speedway by train, be dropped off on the corner, and then walk across the street to the track.

For many of the early years, the majority of the Speedway’s grandstands were concentrated down around turn one because of the number of people entering the facility at this point. There would also be a huge congregation of people picnicking inside turn one in the area that eventually developed into the Snake Pit. When the race was over, fans could walk back across the street and catch the train back downtown.

The Race Day rail service ended in the early 1960s (either ’62 or ’63), although trains still ran until the early 1970s. The tracks were eventually taken up, and those areas are now used for parking during IMS events. The path of the train can still be easily followed on the south side of Crawfordsville Road when leaving the Speedway and heading west toward Interstate 465. On event weekends, the area that was once a railroad looks like a large, linear parking lot.

It may not be the official main gate of the Speedway now, but many a traveler today evidently still believe it is the main gate as throughout the year people park their cars to take pictures of the gate, its sign, the wing and wheel, and the seven flags that fly from the first day of the IZOD IndyCar Series season until the checkered flag falls on the last race of the season.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Plenty Of History, Tradition At Turn One Gate At IMS
 
Plenty Of History, Tradition At Turn One Gate At IMS
Friday, March 23 marked what is becoming another Indianapolis Motor Speedway tradition and a sure sign that the Indianapolis 500 will soon be upon us. The placing of the racing flags atop what is now called the Turn One Gate (it used to be called Gate 1) began in the late 1990s as a way to celebrate and announce the beginning of a new IndyCar season. But it is the history of the gate, and what it has meant to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that intrigues me.
Read More
Related Media
Jimmie Johnson
 
Johnson Clinches Seventh NASCAR Championship at Homestead
Jimmie Johnson earned the new nickname "Seven-Time" after winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which also earned him the 2016 Sprint Cup Series championship -- the seventh of his career. This came after a rough start to the day when Johnson was forced to start from the rear after unapproved adjustments to his car before the race.
Read More
Tony Stewart
 
Relive Tony Stewart's Victories at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Going into his final race this weekend at Homestead, Tony Stewart owns 49 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins. Among the most cherished to the Columbus, Indiana, native are – of course -- his two Brickyard 400 wins, in 2005 and 2007.
Read More
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
 
IMS End-of-Season Sale Set for Nov. 19
Fans can take advantage of the lowest prices of the season on their favorite Race Day apparel, souvenirs, diecasts and more on from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center inside the famed oval. Discounted merchandise from the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, 100th Running of the Indy 500, Brickyard 400, Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational and the Red Bull Air Race will be included, with much more.
Read More
Veterans Day
 
Special Veterans Day Note from IMS President Doug Boles
Happy Veterans Day to all Veterans. On behalf of IMS fans everywhere, thank you for your service.
Read More
Jimmie Johnson
 
Johnson Scores Ninth Martinsville Win, Advances to Championship 4
Winless at the .526-mile short track since the spring race of 2013, Jimmie Johnson ended his “drought” on Sunday with a victory in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 and earned a berth in the Championship 4 race, set for Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 711
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
.@BadgerFootball vs @PennStateFball - Tomorrow at Lucas Oil Stadium. Who will take the win for the 2016 #B1GFCG?! https://t.co/Ionny4utce
about 3 hours ago