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The Indianapolis 500 - A beautiful tradition since 1911 that is perhaps the most storied and historic automobile race in the world
Since 1911, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the western edge of Indianapolis has been the home to "the greatest spectacle in racing" - the Indianapolis 500. For more than 100 years, the world's elite race drivers have journeyed to from countries near and far Speedway, Indiana, with one single goal - to have their face etched into history and literally onto the most beautiful trophy in sports, the massive silver art deco Borg Warner Trophy. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the dream of Indiana businessman, Carl Fisher, who created the track that would become a testing course for car manufacturers to put their vehicles and equipment through rigorous competition and and endurance race.
After purchasing the land for about $75,000, Fisher and his partners incorporated the Motor Speedway on February 8, 1909, officially making Indiana the heart and soul of auto racing for years to come. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened on June 5, 1909 with great fanfare and massive crowds. There was a hot air balloon race and soon the first automobile races were held on the track with many Indiana car manufacturers participating, including Auburn and the Stutz Motor car company which was based only minutes from the newly minted Motor Speedway.
The initial race ended in tragedy, including several driver and mechanic deaths and several injuries. But this did not stop the excitement for this truly unique event. In December 1909, the track reopened with a newly-paved surface and guardrails to protect drivers and race fans, cementing the firm hold that auto racing would have upon the town of Speedway on the western edges of indianapolis.
The first 500-mile race was held at the track on May 30, 1911, beginning the Memorial Day tradition of the Indianapolis 500. Ray Harroun took the checkered flag and earned his team $27,550 for his victory while driving a Marmon Wasp. By 1913, the Indianapolis 500 began earned international recognition, as cars from France, Italy, England and Germany joined the competition. For the first time, a French driver, Jules Goux, won the Indy 500 driving his 1914 Peugeot across the brick-paved finish line and the checkered flag.
The storied and breathtaking tradition of the Indy 500
With each passing decade, the participating cars have become faster and more powerful. Traditions have been established and many drivers and fans have lost their lives on the long road of safety improvements and rule changes. Over the 100+ races that have taken place, racing legends have become household names, speed records have been surpassed which many thought impossible and crowd sizes have grown to previously unimaginable numbers. And competition has grown over the past century in the garages too, where mechanics and team engineers adjust in minute detail to gain even the smallest advantage. No single race had a tighter finish than in 1992, when Al Unser Jr. beat Scott Goodyear across the finish line by 0.043 seconds.
Each year, passionate race fans fill the grandstands and massive infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, holding their ears as the cars scream past anticipating the eventual winner to drink from the winner's bottle of milk, an annual tradition that began in 1933.
Customized Premium Indianapolis 500 Experiences
Let Sports Travel & Tickets build a customized, premium experience for you while you are in Indianapolis. We have relationships with individuals at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with many private hospitality venues, race teams, drivers, and local golf pros. We are based right here in Indianapolis. Our team knows the Indy 500 inside and out! Our office is only minutes from the track so we can handle every detail of your experience. We can suggest the best things to do and arrange for amazing and unique experiences tailored just for you! Here are just a few of the unique experiences our team can arrange for you ...
- Carburetion Day ("Carb Day") Hospitality on Friday
- Pit Passes
- Gasoline Alley Garage Tours and Passes
- Hall of Fame driver meet & greets
- Hall of Fame Indy driver guest speaking events
- Private group cocktail parties
- Side Tours & excursions
- Indy 500 Victory Banquet
- Masseuse services
- Private city tours & excursions
- Autographed Indy 500 memorabilia
- Police escorts to the race
- Upgraded ticket locations & Luxury Track Suites
- Private transfers (limosuine, black car, motor coach)
You can contact one of our sports travel experts now at 1-317-705-3002 (Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST).
"4 thumbs way up from my 2 sons!"
“Took my boys to the Indy 500 with the Paddock Penthouse tickets that came with our hotel ticket package and they thought everything was simply brilliant. It's good to get a "thanks Dad" every now and then. When the pace lap ended and the cars went rocketing past us I really got chills. I know it's sort of cliché, but I did. Cheers.”
— Mick Dunham, Birmingham, England
We have custom travel packages to the Indianapolis 500 featuring first class hotels, premium hospitality with tickets to the race and all of the festivities. Start planning your trip today!
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