News & Multimedia

Indianapolis 500 Inspires Little 500 Bike Race At Indiana University

The world-famous Indianapolis 500 Mile Race inspired what evolved into the “World’s Greatest College Weekend” when the inaugural Little 500 bicycle race took place in 1951 on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington.

An event that has grown substantially through the years, more than 25,000 people attend the Little 500 races every year, with the proceeds used for student scholarships at IU. The 2011 races allowed the IU Student Foundation to give more than $35,000 in scholarships.

It all began in 1950 when IU Student Foundation Executive Director Howdy Wilcox saw students pedaling on bicycles around his building on campus while mimicking the Indianapolis 500. Wilcox, whose father, Howdy, was the winning driver in the 1919 Indianapolis 500, came up with the idea of using a bike race on campus as a fundraising activity. The inaugural Little 500 was held the following year.

Just like the Indianapolis 500, teams qualify for the cherished 33 spots in the field, and the race begins with 11 rows of three bikes each. Teams are made up of as many as four riders per team competing on identical single-speed bikes. A minimum of 10 exchanges are mandatory for the men’s race, and for the women’s race, which began in 1988, at least five exchanges are required over 100 laps.

A connection between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Little 500 has continued through the years. The Little 500 is led every year by an Indianapolis 500 Pace Car provided by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and in recent years, Delta Chi fraternity, which won the men’s Little 500 race eight times between 1973 and 1993, has proudly worn the name of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on its competition jerseys.

An additional tie-in between the Indianapolis 500 and the Little 500 occurred in 1988 when driver Phil Krueger’s car appeared on Indianapolis 500 race day with the name “Cutters” on each side pod. Operating with a shoestring budget, Krueger, who finished eighth in the race, chose the name “Cutters” to appear on his car after seeing it in the 1979 Hollywood production “Breaking Away.”

The movie told the fictional story about a rag-tag quartet of Bloomington, Ind., teenagers who were allowed to enter the Little 500, and they went on to shockingly win that year’s race. A “Cutters” team has competed annually at the Little 500 every year since 1984, winning the men’s race a record 12 times. The “Cutters” enter this year’s Little 500 with a five-race winning streak.

Bill Armstrong Stadium on the IU campus will be the site for this year’s Little 500. The women’s race will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20, with the men’s race at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21.

The 96th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for noon (ET) Sunday, May 27.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Indianapolis 500 Inspires Little 500 Bike Race At Indiana University
 
Indianapolis 500 Inspires Little 500 Bike Race At Indiana University
The world-famous Indianapolis 500 Mile Race inspired what evolved into the “World’s Greatest College Weekend” when the inaugural Little 500 bicycle race took place in 1951 on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington.
Read More
Related Media
Scott Dixon
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Dixon Lands 36th Career IndyCar Win at Long Beach
Dixon's first victory at Long Beach was his 36th overall, breaking a tie with Bobby Unser for fifth on the all-time Indy car list. Al Unser is fourth with 39 victories. It was the 98th Indy car victory for team owner Chip Ganassi.
Read More
Scott Dixon
 
Pruett's Preview: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
With two rounds complete and 14 left to run, drawing any significant conclusions on how certain drivers will fare in their quest for the Astor Cup would be premature, but it's hard to ignore some of the notable trends leading into this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix at Long Beach.
Read More
Pippa Mann
 
Mann Teams Up With Susan G. Komen for Indy 500
Veteran Verizon IndyCar Series Driver Pippa Mann will again race in the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing. For the second consecutive year, she will be driving in her familiar pink gear as she races in support of Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, and its mission to end breast cancer forever.
Read More
Oriol Servia
 
Servia Joins RLL Racing for Indianapolis 500
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced today that Oriol Servia will return to the team for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24.
Read More
Sebastien Saavedra
 
Saavedra Confirmed For Indianapolis 500 With Chip Ganassi
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced today that Sebastian Saavedra will drive the No. 8 AFS Chevrolet in the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 913
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
33 days until the #Indy500! https://t.co/X6GYOSzAnT
about 22 minutes ago