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.
Perhaps no racing name is more closely linked with the Indianapolis 500 than Offenhauser. This venerable engine manufacturer was a dominant force at The Brickyard from the early 1930s up until the 1960s. Offenhauser remained a force to be reckoned with until 1983, rounding out a spectacular half-century run as America’s most advanced racing engines.
A racing event with a history as long as the Indy 500 is sure to have spawned more than a few traditions, but the “Milk Drinking” post-race ritual is surely the strangest. It was way back in 1936 that the curious practice of the race winner drinking a bottle of milk first began, and it has continued virtually without interruption ever since.
As millions of auto racing fans shift into high gear for the 91st Indianapolis 500 race on May 27 of 2007, let’s take a moment to reflect back on the humble beginnings of this historic race.
The National Auto Racing Memorabilia Show, known to regular visitors as NARM, has grown from humble beginnings to become a hugely popular annual event. Held in Indianapolis in conjunction with the Indy 500 Weekend, NARM celebrated their 28th anniversary this past May 25 through 28 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Although the show certainly draws visitors from those who come to town to watch the Indianapolis 500, there is also a solid core of auto racing memorabilia collectors for whom NARM holds pride of place on their calendars.
Sprint Car racing traces its auto racing history back to the impromptu races that were held on tiny unpaved tracks at early 20th century county fairs, horseracing ovals and traveling shows. Time was, sprint car racing was seen as a ticket to the Indianapolis 500 if a driver was good enough to win on a consistent basis. While that isn’t the case anymore, it’s good to know that some things haven’t changed much and Sprint Car racing is a fine example of that.
In a land where auto racing has almost the status of a religion, the Indianapolis 500 race is perhaps the most exalted. Perhaps this is due to the long and glorious history of the race that extends back in time nearly a century. It was back in the early 1900s that Carl Fisher saw the need for a facility that would allow the day’s new, powerful automobiles to be tested to the limits of their speed and handling. Fisher also thought that an occasional race might be staged between some of the better cars. So it was that the first race at the then new Indianapolis Motor Speedway was held in 1909.