The year 1911 marks the beginning of the Indianapolis 500 making it the oldest and richest motoring event to ever have taken place. This American open-wheel event occurs every year on the weekend of Memorial Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Over the years this entertaining event has been attended to by hundreds of thousands of spectators from all over the country giving it its apt nickname, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. On top of that thousands more listen to the live event and watch it every year on Radio and Television broadcast ever since 1949. The year May 2007 marks the events 91st year since the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race was first created.
The actual Indianapolis Motor Speedway was first built in 1909 where it hosted many small motorway events on tracks made from tar and gravel. It was sometime later when the promoters decided that instead of having a lot of small events it would be better to focus on one large event. The next change to make was the actual racing surface, which had been related to a number of driver’s accidents and deaths. The reason for this was that the tar and gravel surface was too uneven to be safe at such high speeds. The new 500 mile track was built using bricks, over three million of them to produce the perfect track.
As mentioned above the first Indy 500 took place in 1911 on Memorial Day with over 80,200 spectators there to view this marked occasion. That day it was Ray Harroun who won the first event in his Marmon “Wasp” that he had put together. With the first race being an American win it now challenged European carmakers to produce cars of a similar nature that could compete in the Indy 500. Between 1913 and 1919 companies like French Peugeot and Italy’s Fiat came up to meet the challenge.
This well loved racing event continues to be a popular form of sport attended by a large following every year. Having existed for so long the Indianapolis 500 has developed a number of traditions, which the supporters love to keep up with.