The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an American icon and the world's greatest racecourse. With more than 250,000 permanent seats, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also the world's largest seating facility.
Since its opening, the Speedway has been a proving ground for automobiles and an important factor in the development of the present-day automobile. The Speedway also has been the scene of 96 Indianapolis 500 Mile Races, 19 Brickyard 400 NASCAR events, eight United States Grand Prix Formula One events and 5 Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP races, playing host to some of the biggest names in racing history.
Below is a chronological timeline of some of the many highlights in the Speedway's rich 100+ year history.
Nov. 15, 1906: A letter from American entrepreneur Carl Fisher appears in Motor Age magazine, touting the need for a 3- to 5-mile test track in America. Fisher states the idea “has been a hobby of mine for the past three years.”
Dec. 12, 1908: By this date, Fisher associate Lem Trotter has secured the options to buy the four adjoining 80-acre tracts of farmland northwest of the city on which the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be built.
Feb. 8, 1909: The Aero Club of America announces from New York that the Grand Prize event, the U.S. National Balloon Championships, has been awarded to Indianapolis and that it will take place June 5 at the “Indiana Motor Parkway,” which will later be called the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapolis has outbid St. Louis for the event. Also, recent announcements indicate that the track is trying to land the FAM (Federation of American Motorcyclists) races, which normally have been held on the East Coast in July.
March 1, 1909: The dimensions of the planned track have been changed. The first draft called for a 3-mile “outer” course, which could, if so chosen, be linked up with a 2-mile road course through the infield to combine for a 5-mile lap. It has now been decided to reduce the “outer” course to 2.5 miles and increase the optional road course section to 2.5 miles so that the combined lap will still be 5 miles. The drawback to the 3-mile course was that, while it would certainly fit onto the available property, there would be no room for grandstands on the outsides of the straights. By leaving the four turns at exactly 440 yards each from entrance to exit, and reducing the length of the straights, a 2.5-mile outer track could be produced, allowing for grandstands on the outside.
March 9, 1909: Driver Lewis Strang, on his way from Chicago to Daytona Beach, Fla., stops in Indianapolis and is taken to visit the site of the “motor parkway,” which will soon be known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He poses for a photo which, almost 100 years later, will be titled “The Vision.” The major work has not yet begun, but an 8-foot-long scale miniature of the 2.5-mile rectangular-shaped oval sits at the southeast corner of the property so that passersby on the Crawfordsville Pike (later West 16th Street) can see what is planned.
March 11, 1909: The Indianapolis Sun (later The Indianapolis Times) makes reference to the track as the “Indianapolis motor speedway,” rather than the “motor parkway,” using a lowercase “m” for “motor” and a lowercase “s” for “speedway.”
March 20, 1909: The articles of incorporation of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company (rather than corporation) are signed, and the company is officially formed. Although the papers were due to be filed Feb. 8, for reasons unknown the articles are not signed by all parties until March 20.
End of March 1909: Grading work begins to convert the IMS Company’s property from farmland to a 2.5-mile oval. King Brothers of Montezuma, Ind., has been awarded the contract for grading and New York-based engineer P. T. Andrews has been hired as superintendent of construction.
June 5, 1909: On this Saturday afternoon, the Speedway plays host to its first competitive event, the Aero Club of America’s U.S. National Balloon Championships, while construction of the 2.5-mile oval continues.
Aug. 13, 1909: The first of two scheduled days of motorcycle racing is completely rained out.
Aug. 14, 1909: The rescheduled first day of motorcycle competition is severely hampered by the terrible condition of the track surface, which is a mixture of crushed rock and tar. Many riders refuse to compete. The 10-event program is reduced to eight, of which only seven are held, while the second day, rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 16, is canceled completely. A. G. Chapple beats six other riders in the opening 5-mile handicap on Saturday. With the cancellation of event number 8, the 10-lap, 25-mile FAM championship event for professionals, the final race of the day ends up being the four-lap 10-mile amateur championship won by E.G. Baker, who in a few years will gain considerable fame as the legendary perennial transcontinental record-breaker “Cannon Ball” Baker.
Aug. 19, 1909: Three days of automobile racing, totaling 18 events, kick off with a two-lap, standing-start event won by Louis Schwitzer, who will later achieve fame as an industrialist. Other races are won by Louis Chevrolet and Ray Harroun. In the final event of the day, the 250-mile race for the Prest-O-Lite trophy, Billy Borque, who won a race earlier in the day, is fatally injured along with his riding mechanic.
Aug. 21, 1909: After a relatively problem-free day two, the third day ends in disaster when the 300-mile race for the $10,000 Wheeler-Schebler trophy is halted due to accidents at the 235-mile mark. The regrettable loss of life over the three days amounts to one driver, two riding mechanics and two spectators. The track surface obviously is inadequate, and management quickly meets to seek a solution.
Sept. 18, 1909: Shortly after the decision is made to resurface the track with street-paving bricks, workmen unload two railcars of bricks from the Peoria & Eastern Railway station across from the IMS main entrance. The bricks are transported into the grounds via horse and cart, and work soon commences on laying down the 3.2 million of them. About 90 percent of the bricks, known as “Culver Blocks” for patent holder Ruben Culver, come from the Wabash Clay Company in Veedersburg, Ind., while the balance comes from nearby subcontractors.
Dec. 10, 1909: The brick-paving job is completed, 63 days after work began. Even before the work is done, locals have nicknamed the track “The Brickyard.”
Dec. 17, 1909: Despite 10-degree temperatures, Indiana Gov. Thomas R. Marshall dedicates the new surface by placing a “gold” brick (actually gold-plated brass) in the track. Newell Motsinger, driving an Empire, is the first to take an official time trial.
Dec 18, 1909: With temperatures only a couple of degrees warmer than yesterday, Lewis Strang braves the cold and laps the track at 91.81 mph, covering the flying mile at 111.8.
May 27, 1910: The first day of a three-day meet gets underway, with Louis Chevrolet winning the first of 10 planned races, a 5-mile dash, in a Buick entry.
May 28, 1910: Ray Harroun wins the 200-mile Wheeler-Schebler Trophy race. An estimated 25,000 attend the day’s events.
May 30, 1910: Approximately 50,000 spectators crowd into IMS for the final day of the three-day meet, many being forced into the infield because the grandstands are full. Ray Harroun wins the 50-mile race for the Remy Grand Brassard trophy - exactly one year to the day before he will win the inaugural Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Ironically, Harroun has escaped injury in a hard crash earlier in the day, in a Marmon “Wasp” carrying the No. 32 - the same number as his “500”-winning entry will be a year from now. Everyone seems happy with the new surface as, other than for one broken leg, there are no serious injuries.
June 13, 1910: The National Aviation Meet gets underway at IMS, featuring world-famous pioneers of flight Orville and Wilbur Wright.
June 17, 1910: Walter Brookins, a member of the “Wright Flyers,” sets an international altitude record by achieving a height of 4,938 feet during the National Aviation Meet. Brookins beats his own previous record of 4,187 feet, set earlier in the week at IMS.
July 1-2 and 4, 1910: Additional races take place at IMS, but crowds are significantly lower due to an ongoing heat wave and holiday activities around the area. Controversy will envelop events several weeks later, as sanctioning body AAA disqualifies the cars entered as Buick-Marquettes because they do not qualify as “stock” automobiles.
Sept. 3 and 5, 1910: The final auto races of 1910 are held, the scheduled three-day meet being shortened to two. Ray Harroun wins 5-mile sprints on both days, while Johnny Aitken wins the finale on Sept. 5, a 200-miler, in a National. Holiday activities, including a huge parade downtown, hold Monday’s crowd to about 18,000, causing management to reconsider its options for 1911. While the private testing by automobile companies has been flourishing, perhaps too much racing has been offered.
Sept. 6, 1910: Local newspapers reveal that IMS management is considering a single major racing event for 1911, featuring a huge purse, in the range of $30,000. The founders initially discuss a 1,000-mile or 24-hour race, but as the papers report a few days later, they settle on a 500-mile event to take place on Memorial Day 1911.
May 30, 1911: The first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, initially named the “International Sweepstakes,” is won by Ray Harroun at an average speed of 74.602 mph. Except during America’s involvement in World Wars I and II, the Indianapolis 500 will be an annual event from now on. Almost a century later, many historians will look back on this event as perhaps the first to feature the use of a pace car, and they will also credit Harroun’s Marmon “Wasp” as the first automobile to use a rearview mirror.
1912: The Indianapolis 500 became the highest paying sporting event in the world when Carl Fisher increased the total purse to $50,000 and first prize to $20,000.
1913: A four-tier tower of the Japanese pagoda design was erected. It was razed using fire in 1925 to make way for a larger Pagoda of similar design.
1920: The four-lap qualification format was introduced. Driver Art Klein was the first to post a "time trial" under this format.
1923: Tommy Milton became the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 two times (his first win was in 1921). With the exception of one car, this was also the first time the entire field used single-seat cars during the "500."
1925: Peter DePaolo won the Indianapolis 500 and became the first driver to average faster than 100 mph. It was also the first time substantial radio broadcasts took place at the track - WFBM of Indianapolis and WGN from Chicago.
1926: The original Pagoda, which was razed with fire after the 1925 Indianapolis 500, was replaced with a similar yet slightly larger version in time for the 1926 race. As speeds increased, officials felt the original Pagoda was built too close to the track, and thus the new Pagoda was built considerably further back from the main straightaway.
1927: Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and his associates purchased the Speedway for $750,000.
1929: A golf course was added to the Speedway's landscape. Today's Brickyard Crossing Golf Course sits on the same land outside the oval backstretch and inside the oval's infield.
1935: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the first track in the world to install safety-warning lights. Also in 1935, helmet use became mandatory at the Speedway, a first for motor racing worldwide.
1936: Louis Meyer became the first driver to win three Indianapolis 500-Mile Races. He also requested a bottle of buttermilk in Victory Lane, creating the inspiration for the winner to drink milk, an annual tradition since 1956. Before the race, patches of asphalt had been applied to the rougher portions of the bricks in the turns.
1937: All turns were resurfaced with asphalt before the race, and magnaflux inspection of key safety-related metal parts was made mandatory.
1938: Asphalt was laid on the entire surface except the middle section of both straightaways.
1939: The entire track, except the middle portion of the main straightaway, was resurfaced with asphalt.
1940: Wilbur Shaw became the first driver to win back-to-back Indianapolis 500-Mile Races. Only four other drivers have accomplished this feat: Mauri Rose (1947-48), Bill Vukovich (1953-54), Al Unser (1970-71) and Helio Castroneves (2001-02).
Nov. 14, 1945: Tony Hulman of Terre Haute, Ind., obtained control of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, purchasing it from Eddie Rickenbacker for $750,000. Hulman would help elevate the Indianapolis 500 and the month of May to a new level. Wilbur Shaw was named president and general manager. Shaw would later popularize the tradition of announcing, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" in the early 1950s.
Mid-to-late 1940s: The facilities were in deplorable condition after four years of deterioration during World War II, so a long-range program of improvements was launched immediately. The old wooden grandstands were replaced with steel and concrete structures as rapidly as possible in following years.
1949: Television cameras made their first appearance at the track on the morning of the 1949 race. WFBM Channel 6 went on the air with a documentary about the race entitled "The Crucible of Speed" and then televised the entire Indianapolis 500 live. This marked the first-ever television broadcast in the city of Indianapolis. One of the cameras was positioned on top of the first double-decker grandstand in Turn 1.
1956: The first Hall of Fame Museum/office building at the main entrance to the grounds was completed.
1957: A new Master Race Control Tower (replacing the 1926 Pagoda), Tower Terrace and Pit Area were built for the 1957 Indianapolis 500 - along with a new tunnel under the backstretch. Other improvements followed quickly.
1961: A.J. Foyt earned the first of his four Indianapolis 500 victories after he took the lead from Eddie Sachs on Lap 197. In October, the remaining bricks on the front straightaway were covered with asphalt. A 36-inch strip of the original bricks ("Yard of Bricks") was kept intact at the start/finish line, where it remains today.
1965: The Indianapolis 500 was televised nationally on a tape-delayed basis for the first time on ABC.
April 5, 1976: The new, multi-million dollar Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum was opened to the public, featuring approximately 75 classic automobiles, motorcycles and racing cars. The museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Summer 1976: The entire track was resurfaced with asphalt, marking the first complete repaving since paving bricks were laid in late 1909.
May 14, 1977: Pole-sitter Tom Sneva turned the first official 200-mph laps at the Speedway.
May 22, 1977: On the final day of qualifying in 1977, Janet Guthrie became the first female to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
1977: A.J. Foyt became the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times (1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977). Two other drivers would accomplish this feat in the years to come: Al Unser in 1987 (also won in 1970, 1971 and 1978) and Rick Mears in 1991 (also won in 1979, 1984 and 1988).
Oct. 27, 1977: Tony Hulman passed away after 32 years of presiding over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His family took on the responsibility of preserving his vision and the heritage of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hulman's wife, Mary Fendrich Hulman, became chairman of the board while longtime family friend Joseph R. Cloutier was named president.
May 27, 1979: The "pack up" rule was employed as a safety measure during caution periods, and for the first time in history the Pace Car appeared on the track during the Indianapolis 500.
October 1979: The board of directors elected John R. Cooper to a director's position, and named him president and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation.
Spring 1982: Cooper resigned as president and CEO and was subsequently elected chairman of ACCUS-FIA, Inc. Cloutier was again named IMS president.
Spring 1986: A new garage area complex was built, which includes 96 individual garages for race teams and new accessory rooms accommodating up to 25 participating companies.
1986: Bobby Rahal became the first driver to complete the Indianapolis 500 in less than three hours. The Indianapolis 500 was broadcast live on ABC for the first time.
May 1988: Mary Fendrich Hulman was named chairman of the board emeritus and her daughter, Mari Hulman George, was named chairman of the board.
1988: Following the "500," won by Rick Mears, the entire track and pit area were resurfaced.
1989: The winner's share of the Indianapolis 500 exceeded $1 million for the first time, which was won by Emerson Fittipaldi. Grandstand A was remodeled.
Dec. 11, 1989: IMS President Joseph Cloutier passed away.
Jan. 8, 1990: Anton H. "Tony" George, grandson of Tony Hulman, was named president of the Speedway.
1990: Arie Luyendyk set the official Indianapolis 500 race record of 185.981 mph for the full 500 miles.
Spring 1992: A newly designed, energy-absorbing crash pad was installed at the pit entrance on the north end of the inside pit wall.
May 24, 1992: Al Unser Jr. beat Scott Goodyear in the closest race in Indianapolis 500 history. The margin of victory was .043 of a second.
June 22-23, 1992: Nine NASCAR drivers conducted a tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first official NASCAR test in the track's history. The following drivers participated: Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin, Bill Elliott, Darrell Waltrip, Ernie Irvan, Davey Allison and Kyle Petty. The top speed of the test was 168.767 by Elliott on June 23.
1993: Brickyard Crossing, an 18-hole championship-caliber golf course, opened to the public. Four of the holes are located within the infield at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
April 14, 1993: IMS President Tony George and NASCAR President Bill France Jr. announce in a press conference at the Hall of Fame Museum that the inaugural Brickyard 400 will take place on Aug. 6, 1994.
Aug. 16-17, 1993: Thirty-one NASCAR drivers participated in a test session in preparation for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Bill Elliott was fastest again, at 167.467 mph.
1994: Victory Lane was transformed into a circular, rotating lift in the Tower Terrace horseshoe, and a new, 97-foot-tall scoring pylon with modern electronics replaced the pylon that marked the main straightaway since 1959. In addition to track renovations, the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway Administrative Office was completed at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road (outside Turn 1).
March 11, 1994: Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, announced plans for a new racing series, the Indy Racing League, to begin competition in 1996. The Indianapolis 500 is its cornerstone event.
Aug. 6, 1994: The inaugural NASCAR Brickyard 400 race was won by Jeff Gordon.
September 1994: The first Comfort Classic at the Brickyard, featuring the Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour), took place.
Fall 1995: The entire track, except the new pit lane and warm-up lanes, was repaved. Concrete walls and catch fencing were installed along the inside of the back straightaway.
1996: Arie Luyendyk established the one-lap qualifying record of 237.498 mph and the four-lap record of 236.986. Buddy Lazier won the race and became the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 under the Indy Racing League flag.
Sept. 7, 1997: Plans were announced to build a new Control Tower that resembles the historicPagoda structures that stood at the track from 1913-1956. The Bombardier Pagoda was completed in time for the 2000 Indianapolis 500.
May 24, 1998: The 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race was dedicated to the memory of Mary Fendrich Hulman, chairman emeritus of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, who passed away on April 10, 1998 at age 93. Race fans everywhere will remember Hulman as the gentle woman who, in a strong voice, gave the command for drivers to start their engines to begin the world's most famous automobile race from 1978-80 and 1982-96.
July 31, 1998: Mark Martin won the inaugural 40-lap "IROC at Indy" International Race of Champions event. Jeff Gordon won his second Allstate 400 at the Brickyard the next day.
Dec. 2, 1998: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced plans to play host to the United States Grand Prix Formula One race at the Speedway starting in 2000. Work began to prepare the track for the race, including the development of a 2.605-mile road course and 36 pit-side garages for the Formula One teams.
May 30, 1999: Kenny Brack won the 83rd running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, which marked the 90th Anniversary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brack drove for four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt. During the Indianapolis 500 weekend, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway played host to the largest gathering of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients in history.
Spring 2000: Construction continued on the new Bombardier Learjet Pagoda control tower, pit-side garages and 2.605-mile road course in preparation for the inaugural United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis on Sept. 24, 2000. It is the most ambitious construction project in Speedway history.
Sept. 24, 2000: Michael Schumacher won the inaugural United States Grand Prix Formula One race at Indianapolis before a sellout crowd estimated at 225,000. Schumacher's Ferrari teammate, Rubens Barrichello, finished second and Heinz-Harald Frentzen was third in the Jordan Grand Prix entry.
May 27, 2001: Helio Castroneves won the 85th Indianapolis 500, marking the first time since 1926-27 that rookies had won consecutive races.
Aug. 5, 2001: Jeff Gordon won the eighth Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, becoming the first three-time winner of that prestigious event.
Jan. 8, 2002: The Olympic Torch Relay came to the Speedway on the way to the 2002 Winter Olympic games in Salt Lake City. IndyCar Series drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves took one lap with the flame in the back of a Chevy Avalanche, and Eddie Cheever Jr. and IMS CEO Tony George each ran with the flame.
March 2002: The Speedway's asphalt oval surface was made smoother in a process called "diamond-grinding." This was the first time that the track was ground to smooth the surface.
May 1, 2002: The Speedway announced that the groundbreaking SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier was in place in all four of the Speedway oval's corners for the beginning of practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500. Under development by the Indy Racing League and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Midwest Roadside Safety Facility since 1998, the SAFER Barrier is designed for multiple impacts by Indy Racing League cars and stock cars during an event. NASCAR joined in the development of the project in September 2000. The barrier is also used during the Brickyard 400.
May 26, 2002: Helio Castroneves won the 86th Indianapolis 500, becoming the first driver to win back-to-back Indy 500's since Al Unser in 1970 and 1971. Castroneves is the first driver to win the "500" in each of his first two starts.
Aug. 8, 2002: The Indiana quarter, which features a modern Indy-style race car, was released to the public during a ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
May 25, 2003: Gil de Ferran won the 87th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race by .2990 of a second over his Marlboro Team Penske teammate, Helio Castroneves. With Tony Kanaan finishing third only 1.2475 seconds behind de Ferran, the race featured the closest 1-2-3 finish in "500" history.
Aug. 4, 2003: Kevin Harvick won the 10th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, becoming the first driver to win the race from the pole.
Aug. 8, 2004: Jeff Gordon became the first four-time winner of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. He set the race record for most laps led, with 124.
Late Summer-Fall 2004: The 2.5-mile oval surface, pit lane and warm-up lanes were repaved. Crews removed the famous "Yard of Bricks" beginning Aug. 9, milling of the old asphalt surface began Aug. 16, and the final layer of new asphalt was laid in early November.
March 2005: The new "Version 2" SAFER Barrier was installed in each of the four corners of the Speedway oval.
April 28, 2005: The Allstate Corporation, the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, became the title sponsor of the prestigious Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at IMS. The race was renamed the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard as a result of the historic partnership.
Aug. 7, 2005: Tony Stewart, a native and resident of Columbus, Ind., scored an emotional win at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, becoming the first Indiana-born driver to win the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, and the first driver from Indiana to win a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since Shelbyville native Wilbur Shaw won the 1940 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.
July 12, 2007: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that Formula One will not return for the United States Grand Prix in 2008. Both IMS and Formula One hope the event can return in the future.
July 16, 2007: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that MotoGP, the world's premier motorcycle road racing series, will compete at IMS in 2008. The Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sept. 14, 2008 will be contested on a new 2.620-mile road course that will use much of the existing IMS road course. The event will be the first motorcycle race held at IMS since the very first motorized race in 1909.
July 29, 2007: Hoosier Tony Stewart won his second Brickyard 400 over runner-up Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 champion. Montoya became the first driver to participate in three major racing events at IMS - the Indianapolis 500, the United States Grand Prix and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.
July 30, 2007: Construction began on a new 2.620-mile road course to be used for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP race Sept. 14, 2008. The 16-turn circuit included parts of the famed 2.5-mile oval and the Speedway's original road circuit, built in 1999-2000 for the United States Grand Prix. The new portions of the course included a four-turn complex adjacent to Turn 1 of the oval, and a three-turn complex behind the IMS Hall of Fame Museum. Riders will compete on the course in a counter-clockwise direction, the same as the oval.
April 7, 2008: 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden christened the new 16-turn, 2.620-mile road circuit at IMS on two motorcycles - a 1909 Indian that raced in the first motor race at IMS in 1909 and a 2008 Honda CBR 1000 production bike. Hayden, from Owensboro, Ky., dressed in 1909 period costume of a leather helmet, goggles, blue sweater with "Indianapolis Speedway" sewn in green script on the front, knickers and leather riding boots, to ride the 1909 Indian.
Sept. 14, 2008: Six-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi won the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP, which officials ended after 20 of the scheduled 28 laps due to high winds and heavy rain brought on by the remnants of Hurricane Ike. Rossi became the winningest MotoGP/500cc rider in history with his 69th victory in that class, surpassing fellow Italian legend Giacomo Agostini. 2006 MotoGP World Champion and Owensboro, Ky., native Nicky Hayden finished a season-best second, and Jorge Lorenzo was third.
Jan. 16, 2009: The Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T Real Yellow Pages was announced, as balloon races May 1-3 at IMS will honor the first competitive event ever at the Speedway, a helium gas-filled balloon competition Saturday, June 5, 1909.
Feb. 27, 2009: Nineteen of the 27 living Indianapolis 500 winners – including four-time winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears – were among the featured guests at the Centennial Era Gala at the Indiana Convention Center, which officially started the Centennial Era at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
March 14, 2009: Former IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood announced the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Centennial Era Concours d’Elegance, an event scheduled for June 18-20, 2010. The Centennial Era Concours d’Elegance will celebrate the significance of vehicular transportation and competition to Indianapolis. Vehicles at concours d’elegance competitions are judged on their appearance in an elegant setting, with awards presented in a variety of classes.
May 1-3, 2009: The Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T Real Yellow Pages takes place at IMS, honoring the first event at the Speedway 100 years ago. Balloon “glows” and “Hare and Hound” races are key components of the event.
May 24, 2009: Helio Castroneves wins the first Indianapolis 500 to take place in the Centennial Era, becoming just the ninth driver to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” three times.
June 30, 2009: The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that veteran IMS executives W. Curtis Brighton and Jeffrey G. Belskus will head the Hulman-George companies effective July 1. Brighton became president and CEO of Hulman & Company. Belskus became president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedw
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