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Centennial Era


The "The Greatest Race Course in the World" 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. Plans for the Centennial Era celebration were revealed during an event May 22, 2008, at Allison Mansion of Marian College (now Marian University) in Indianapolis.

IMS honored the 100th anniversaries of the opening of the venerable racetrack, in 1909, and of the inaugural Indianapolis 500, in 1911, through the Centennial Era celebration.

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 interwined 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.
  • Centennial Era 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.
Centennial era videos

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.

Fans are encouraged to embed and share these videos online in blogs, social media, forums and bulletin boards.

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