The Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated 100 years of worldwide leadership in motorsports entertainment from 2009-2011 through its Centennial Era, which featured many special events and a retro corporate logo.
Click here to view the full playlist of Centennial Moments
Plans for the Centennial Era celebration were revealed during an event May 22, 2008 at Allison Mansion of Marian College in Indianapolis.
Indiana businessmen Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Arthur C. Newby and Frank H. Wheeler pooled their resources to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 as an automobile testing ground to support Indiana’s growing automotive industry. The focus of the facility soon turned to racing, with Ray Harroun winning the inaugural Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911.
"No other motorsports facility in the world has the rich history and tradition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George said. "The Centennial Era celebration pays homage to the heroes and events of our storied past while anticipating an even more glorious future."
There were many intertwined components to the Centennial Era celebration:
- Centennial Gala. A Centennial Gala took place Feb. 27, 2009 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. 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 black-tie event. Proceeds benefited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, which operates the Hall of Fame Museum.
- Balloon Festival. The Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T Yellow Pages took place May 1-3, 2009 at IMS with a full schedule of evening balloon "glows" and daytime ascensions. The event returned May 8, 2010. Both events commemorated the first competitive event ever at the Speedway, a gas-filled balloon race June 5, 1909.
- Centennial Era Logo. A new Centennial Era logo was used at IMS from 2009-2011. The logo, designed by IMS Creative Services, drew elements from 1909, 1934 and 1961 IMS graphics in a historic motif.
Two series of videos, Centennial Era Moments and Centennial Era Gala, highlight the legends of the Speedway through interviews, historical footage and footage from the Centennial Era Gala. Click here to visit the IMS YouTube channel and watch these videos.