News & Multimedia

100 Years Later - Chevrolet name still involved at IMS

Today, November 3, marks the official 100th anniversary of Chevrolet. To help celebrate this milestone and a relationship between IMS and the Chevrolet name that pre-dates Chevrolet’s official start date, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has completed a project that has been left undone for 65 years.

Many people don’t know, but the three Chevrolet brothers so appreciated the Indianapolis community that they all requested to be buried here. Gaston, Louis and Arthur are all buried next to each other at Holy Cross and Saint Joseph Cemetery just south of downtown Indianapolis. Until just recently, only Gaston (the 1920 Indy 500 winner) and Louis had head stones at the location. Arthur, who competed in the 1911 Indianapolis 500, died without family or the ability to pay for proper graveside markings and was without a headstone since 1946.

In memory of Arthur, and to honor the Chevrolet name on this 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 and the Chevrolet brand, IMS, Chevrolet and Indianapolis businessman David Ring arranged to have a proper headstone placed on Arthur’s grave site. Ring, who owns Harry W. Moore Funeral Care on Indianapolis’ northwest side, is an Indianapolis 500 fan and is a student of the history of the event and the sport.

“When I heard that Arthur did not have a head stone I worked with IMS to arrange for one to be created and placed,” said Ring. “Especially in this year that is so important to the Indianapolis 500 and Chevrolet, I was honored to be asked to spearhead this project and see to it that Arthur was properly recognized.”

Between the three brothers, the Chevrolet name was represented eight times in the starting field of the Indianapolis 500 between 1911 and 1920.

Holy Cross and Saint Joseph Cemetery is located just south of downtown Indianapolis on the northeast corner of Pleasant Run Parkway Drive and Meridian Streets.
---
Below are two additional stories compiled by Donald Davidson highlighting Louis, Arthur and Gaston and their involvement with the Indianapolis 500:

It is rather ironic that the Indianapolis 500 and the Chevrolet Motor Company should both happen to celebrate their respective centennials this year. There is a long standing connection between the two, not the least of which is that Arthur Chevrolet, driving a factory-entered Buick, was one of the 40 contestants who took part in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911.

In fact, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is now in its 102nd year, the track having opened in 1909, with the first running of the "500" taking place during its third season, approximately five months before the Chevrolet Motor Company officially came into being.

The Swiss-born brothers, Louis and Arthur Chevrolet were drivers and engineers for Buick Motor Company during the track's first two years, both competing in the multi-event programs conducted in 1909 and 1910. By the time the first "500" was held in 1911, Louis was coming to the end of a brief period in which he had been considered so valuable to Buick as an engineer that he had been obliged to step down as a driver. With rumors already flying that Billy Durant was luring the brothers away from Buick to form a new company bearing their name, a pair of Buick Super 100s took part in the first "500" driven by Arthur Chevrolet and a Frenchman living in the United States, named Charles Basle.

During practice, Louis came out of retirement to take some laps and one thing led to another. He explored the possibility of fielding a third car as a post-entry, the rumors persisting to this day that he (a) turned the fastest laps during practice and that (b) he failed to obtain the necessary waivers from all the other competitors. Neither is true. He apparently decided on his own to forgo trying to compete with a third car, content instead to stand by as a potential relief driver for his brother, this becoming academic when Arthur's car had to drop out after only 30 laps.

---

The 1920 Indianapolis 500 was won by Gaston Chevrolet, the youngest (by several years) of the three racing Chevrolet Brothers, Louis and Arthur having also driven in the "500."  And had Arthur not been injured in an accident during practice that year, all three would have driven against each other in the same race.

By this time, Louis and Arthur had long since left the company bearing their name and had sold all of their stock, thus giving up the potential of quickly becoming multi-millionaires. Instead, they moved from Detroit to Indianapolis and began building race cars called Frontenac Specials. By 1920, there were seven such cars, four of which ran as Monroe Specials, sponsored by the William Small Company which had taken over the assets of the bankrupt Monroe Motor Company. Five of the seven cars failed to finish, all of them due to steering failures, four of which resulted in accidents. One of the Monroe Specials survived to win the race, driven by Gaston, who like his brothers was now an Indianapolis resident.

The legend is that back in the garage area after the race was over, the hard-headed and emotional Louis turned his attention to the steering failures, which had likely robbed the team of several top ten finishes. He is said to have taken a swift kick to the winning car whereupon its steering arm fell clattering to the ground.

Louis and Arthur returned to the Indianapolis 500 in 1921 and won again with driver Tommy Milton.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
100 Years Later - Chevrolet name still involved at IMS
 
100 Years Later - Chevrolet name still involved at IMS
Today, November 3, marks the official 100th anniversary of Chevrolet. To help celebrate this milestone and a relationship between IMS and the Chevrolet name that pre-dates Chevrolet's official start date, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has completed a project that has been left undone for 65 years.
Read More
Related Media
CICOA at IMS
 
Carpenter Helps Celebrate CICOA Meals & More Program's 18 Millionth Meal
The CICOA Meals & More program works to combat that, providing 2,000 meals every weekday in clients’ homes and at 27 Central Indiana meal sites. And on Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, CICOA served its 18 millionth meal to a senior guest.
Read More
Bloomington Gold
 
Bloomington Gold Corvettes USA Coming To IMS in June 2015
Bloomington Gold Corvettes USA, “The Granddaddy of Corvette Shows,” will make its inaugural appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from June 25-27, 2015.
Read More
Kevin Harvick
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Harvick Wins at Phoenix
Harvick won for the third straight race and sixth time overall on the 1-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway, leading 264 of 312 laps to secure the only automatic transfer spot of the Eliminator round.
Read More
Marc Marquez
 
Red Bull Indianapolis GP Honored as 'Best Grand Prix' by MotoGP
The Red Bull Indianapolis GP was named by MotoGP as the circuit’s “Best Grand Prix” in 2014, the first North American race so honored.
Read More
On Any Sunday Director, Dana Brown
 
Q&A: Dana Brown, Director "On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter"
Opening today in theatres nationwide is Red Bull Media House’s “On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter,” directed by Dana Brown, Bruce’s son. The sequel shows how the sport and culture of motorcycles have grown in four decades since the original, and the action shot in 4K Ultra HD takes viewers even closer to the racing and the personalities. Among the subjects that Dana Brown shadowed is MotoGP rider Marc Marquez, the winner of the 2013 and 2014 Red Bull Indianapolis GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 474
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 Phil Sparks at (317) 492-6463 or email at psparks@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
We at IMS have a lot to be thankful for - great racing, fast cars and AWESOME fans. We share more on the blog: http://t.co/tXyH4YyDXI
about 18 hours ago