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
Justin Wilson
 
Justin Wilson Children's Fund Update
INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway encourage racing fans to make donations to a new fund established to support the family of Justin Wilson. Donations to the Wilson Children's Fund can be made online at www.wilsonchildrensfund.com or sent to the following address:
Read More
Justin Wilson
 
Justin Wilson 1978-2015
INDYCAR announced that driver Justin Wilson, who enjoyed success in multiple motorsports series during a two-decade professional career, died today from a head injury suffered in the Verizon IndyCar Series race Aug. 23 at Pocono Raceway. He was 37.
Read More
Justin Wilson
 
IMS Statement Regarding Justin Wilson
A statement from Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles about the passing of Indianapolis 500 and United States Grand Prix veteran Justin Wilson:
Read More
Scott Dixon
 
Pruett's Preview: Going For It at Pocono
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon sits third in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. The three-time title winner is accustomed to being at the sharp end of the standings with the season drawing to a close, and with this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono’s tri-oval offering a chance to move up to first or second in points, the New Zealander says his game plan is incredibly simple.
Read More
Tony Kanaan
 
IndyCar Veterans Slated to Test at IMS on Wednesday, Aug. 12
The 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET session will incorporate a Firestone tire test to be conducted with Marco Andretti in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet, along with four drivers participating in team testing on the 2.5-mile oval.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 283
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
You spoke & we listened - Here are some of your favorite red cars to run at IMS! http://t.co/RCrJaDEkg4 #FridayFive http://t.co/Ue9KTYAlTm
about 20 hours ago