Welcome to America’s speedway! The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built on 328 acres of farmland 7 miles north-west of downtown Indianapolis in the spring of 1909. It didn’t start out as one of the most famous racetracks in the world. It was planned as a year-round testing facility for the fast-growing automobile industry in Indiana. Occasional race meets would be presented at the track, featuring those very same manufacturers racing their products against each other. The basic marketing logic being that spectators would be more apt to purchase a new car if they saw its performance on a race-track.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway was originally four turns, each banked at nine degrees and 12 minutes and measuring exactly 440 yards from entrance to exit, were linked together by a pair of long straights and, at the north and south ends of the property, by a pair of short straights to form a rectangular-shaped 2 ½ mile track as dictated by the confines of the available land.
Check out these track statistics:
Road Course: total track length: 2.605 miles (4.192 kilometers)
Main straight length: 3,037 feet (926 meters)
Back straight length: 1,755 feet (535 meters)
Total turns: 13 (Left turns – 4; Right turns – 9)
Average track width: 46 feet (14 meters)
Expected Lap Time: 72 seconds
Expected average speed: 130 mph (210 kph)
Expected highest speed: 187 mph (301 kph)
Race Distance: 190.294 miles (306.235 km), 73 laps
Time limit on Race: FIA rules stipulate that Formula 1 races have a maximum time limit of two hours. This race should be completed in less than two hours, barring an emergency stoppage.
The original surface of Indianapolis Motor Speedway was made of nothing but crushed rock and tar, which proved to be disastrous at the opening motorcycle and automobile racing events in August of 1909. So a staggering 3,200,000 paving bricks were imported by rail from the western part of the state. They were laid on their sides in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar, thus inspiring the nickname “The Brickyard.” The name has stood forever more.
Asphalt was first applied to the rougher portions of the track in 1936, and by 1941, all but the greater part of the straightaway had become blacktop. The remainder of the bricks were finally covered over in the fall of 1961. Most of the original paving bricks are still in place underneath the modern asphalt surface, with only the famous “yard of bricks” still exposed at the start/finish line as a nostalgic reminder of the past.
The track has changed ownership only twice. With Carl Fisher heavily involved in the development of Miami Beach and Jim Allison’s nearby engineering company growing rapidly, the foursome sold Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1927 to a group headed up by WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker (Rickenbacker had actually driven in several Indy 500s before he ever knew how to fly).
These days the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, opened in 1909, is the world’s largest spectator facility and the only racetrack to host the Indy Racing League, NASCAR and Formula One. Since 1911, the Speedway has been the home of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500 each May. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (formerly Brickyard 400) has quickly become one of NASCAR’s most coveted races since the inaugural event in 1994 and heats up the track in late July. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway completed the Triple Crown of Racing in 2000 with the addition of June’s United States Grand Prix, the only Formula One race run in the United States.
The Infineon Raceway is located close to Sonoma, to the north of San Francisco. It serves two purposes: that of a road course track and that of a drag strip. As it is situated in the northern California hills, the track races up and down these hills, together with challenging turns and complicated twists. Not only does the Infineon Raceway host NASCAR events but is home to the American Federation of Motorcyclists series, which holds a few motorcycle events here. Only one of the NASCAR road races is held at the Infineon Raceway. This track was formerly known as the Sears Point Raceway when it opened in 1968.
The Riverside International Raceway, that was located in California, was closed at the end of the 1988 racing season, and was demolished to make way for a new shopping center development project. This left NASCAR searching for a venue to replace Riverside, and decided on the road course at Sears Point. The name, Sears Point, refers to the geographical features of the location, and has therefore no connection to the company Sears. It was renamed after the Infineon Corporation in 2002, although most people still call it by its original name, and the name they’ve grown accustomed to.
The Infineon Raceway is a 4.05 kilometer road course that features twelve turns, and a bypass road that excludes the number 5 and number 6 turns. The bypass is named “The Chute” and it shortens the course to a total racing distance of 3.14 kilometers. The Chute was added in 1998, and is mostly used for events like the NASCAR Dodge/Save Mart 350. Most drivers do not approve of The Chute, and would prefer racing the entire course. The full course layout is used for most of the races, which includes the Grand American Road Racing Association‘s Sonoma Grand Prix.
In 2003 another modification was made to the Infineon Raceway. It is a course that is 3.57 kilometers in total and has twelve turns. This course excludes most of the twists and has a hairpin bend, for the added safety of the motorcycle riders. The motorcycle course has a runoff at turn number 11, whereas the main courses’ turn number 11 does not feature a runoff, but is a slow turn similar to the Mirabeau hairpin bend of Monaco. In addition to the various courses that are available at the Infineon Raceway, there is also a drag strip that is 400 meters, or a quarter mile, for the NHRA Drag Racing events that are held here.
Races that are currently held at the Infineon Raceway, include the AMA Superbike – Supercuts Superbike Challenge, the Dodge/Save Mart 350 that is part of the Nextel Cup, the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series and the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma that falls under the Indy Racing League.
Jackie Stewart aka The Flying Scot is a renowned Formula One driver from the ’60s and ’70s. Stewart took home 3 world titles and participated in the Can-Am championship. After his career as a race car driver ended he went on to become a popular commentator, consultant and team owner.
Sir John Young Stewart, OBE was born on 11 June 1939 in West Dunbartonshire. Stewart’s interest in cars was piqued at an early age as his family owned Dumbuck Garage in Milton. His father had previously been a motorcycle racer and his brother Jimmy was an increasingly popular race car driver. In 1953 he competed in the British Grand Prix with team Ecuri Ecosse. Although his parents discouraged their sons from racing after Jimmy was injured, Jackie accepted an offer by Barry Filer to test his cars at Oulton Park. During the test runs Jackie Stewart left a major impression on the spectators. Ken Tyrrell of Cooper soon heard of Jackie and quickly contacted his brother to organize a tryout. Tyrrell was suitably impressed by Stewart’s fast times and asked him to join the team in 1963.
In 1964 Jackie Stewart took part in Formula Three and had his first win at Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit. In 1965 he joined BRM so as to compete in Formula One. He debuted in South Africa and later gained a victory at the BRDC International Trophy. Unfortunately in 1966 he would have won the Indianapolis 500 had it not been for a mechanical problem and thus he was given the honor of Rookie of the Year. During the Belgian Grand Prix of 1966 Stewart was involved in a terrible crash due to rainy weather. The marshals were unable to help him, so his teammate Graham Hill rescued him. Because of this event Jackie Stewart began a campaign to improve safety in motor racing. Removable steering wheels and a main electrics switch became mandatory and BRM provided a medical truck.
In 1968 and 1969 Stewart drove F1 for Ken Tyrrell. Behind the steering wheel of a Matra MS80 Jackie Stewart became the 1969 World Champion. He once again became World Champion in 1971 and 1973. During his racing career, Jackie Stewart received great recognition including the Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year” award and BBC’s “Sports Personality Of The Year” in 1973. In 2001 Stewart received the title Sir. Even after retiring as an F1 driver Jackie Stewart, The Flying Scot, has gone on to exert an influence on the sport.
David Earl Savage Jr, was born in San Bernardino, in California, on 26 August 1946. He was an all American NASCAR driver that started his career in Soap Box Derbies at the tender age of five years old. Soon he was racing Quarter Midget cars, and by the age of twelve, he had moved up to Go-Kart racing. Swede Savage took a keen interest in motorcycle racing in his late teens, and started driving a Lola in the late 1960s, in the Can-Am Racing Series. A few NASCAR drivers and events saw the introduction of this talented driver during the years 1968 and 1969. Swede Savage was forced out of the Daytona 500 in 1969, after his car’s wheel fell of on the 124th lap, and he crashed out. The undeterred Savage was driving an identical sponsored Plymouth Barracudas as his teammate Dan Gurney in the 1970 Trans-Am Series.
Swede Savage took home the “Phoenix Bobby Ball 150” title in 1970, behind the wheel of an Indycar. He also raced in the Indianapolis 500 twice, with a 32nd place finish in 1972, after being forced to drop out of the race due to mechanical problems. In 1973, Swede Savage lead the Indianapolis 500 for a total of twelve laps, but was unfortunately passed on the 55th lap, by Al Unser. It was on the 58th lap, that tragedy struck. Savage’s car had brushed along side the wall at the turn four exit and his car went sliding across the track sideways. Swede Savage then impacted violently, at a very oblique angle, against the track wall. The car disintegrated on impact and erupted in a ball of flames, with the trans axle and engine tumbling continuously until it reached the entrance to the pit lane. Swede Savage was still strapped in his racing seat, and the force had thrown him across the circuit, where on this hand and knees, he came to rest at the outer retaining wall. He was completely exposed. The tragedy did not end there. Crewmembers, Armando Teran and Graham McRae, ran blindly to their injured driver. Their concern and worry for his condition caused them not to see the fire truck that was approaching the scene, driving in the opposite direction of pit lane travel, that struck and killed Armando Teran. Teran was one of the youngest members of the team.
Thirty three days after his horrific accident, David Earl “Swede” Savage, died from his injuries. Savage had inhaled racing fuel vapors during his ordeal, that had led to severe respiratory failure. Swede Savage was laid to rest in Mt View Cemetery in San Bernardino, and left behind a wife, a six year old daughter and an unborn baby. The loss of this wonderful driver, and the tragedy that befell his family, friends and fans, is evident in the fan sites and kind words that are still expressed today.
The brilliant racing action of the Clash of the Titans will be heading down to the San Antonio Raceway on August 29th and 30th for the absolutely awesome Labor Day Outlaw Streetcar Nationals. Both days promise to offer fans the non-stop thrills that come standard with this level of racing, especially as the race will be another chance to accrue points for the Outlaws series.
The gut-wrenching action that has become synonymous with the Clash of the Titans will get underway on Friday, August 29th, with some open time trials and test runs that will take place between 18:00 and 23:00. Gates will open at 15:00, so if you want to get good parking you’ll have to arrive early and make the most of the event. The first round of pro qualifying will take place at 21:00, so make sure that you don’t go home before you’ve seen the really good stuff.
However, the really great racing action will get started on Saturday morning at 10:00. The 200 mph Clash of the Titans will leave you gripping the edges of your seat as you take in all the exhilarating excitement. The event is set to kick off with the Motorcycle and Import classes, which are back by popular demand. In this race you will be able to see some of the fastest bikes and imports at work as they battled it out to determine which is the fastest.
From that point on you’ll find plenty of racing action to keep you glued to your seat. The True Street Challenge, Heads Up racing and Import Battle will keep the tarmac red hot with burning rubber. However, if you do find you need a change of pace for a short while, there will be a car show and a vendor midway showcasing all the latest in automotive performance parts. There will also be a swap meet where you can purchase used parts and plenty of yummy food. Scott Singleton from RPM Magazine will have his camera ready to snap up any great cars that turn up for the event, so make sure that your automobile is polished up and ready for action. So make sure you don’t miss out on the great racing action next weekend. Get your tickets at any O’Reilly Auto Parts store for great discounts!