There is no question that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the most recognizable brands in all of sports. The track has been the host of some of the most iconic sporting events in American history, including the Indianapolis 500, and now serves as the home of the Brickyard 400, among other prestigious races. Its significance in American sports cannot be overstated. Founded in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the second-oldest motorsport tournament in the United States and the fifth-oldest in the world. It was the inspiration for “Star Trek’s” famous Borg Cube, and the track’s shape can still be seen on the uniforms of the original Trek cast members.
The Most Iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway
When it comes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, only one thing can truly be said for certain: it is iconic. From the moment the track opened its gates to the car-loving public for the first time on May 28, 1909, until the present day, many changes have occurred at the Speedway; however, the brand has always remained the same. The track itself has evolved from a dusty road backwoodsman’s track to a sports arena and then finally to a state-of-the-art Motorsport Venue.
Today, fans can attend any one of the speedway’s six NASCAR racing events, as well as three IndyCar Series races, a Formula One Grand Prix, and numerous other various motor sports events, all in one year. In 2011, the track was the site of the first-ever World Poker Tour tournament. Every year, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway welcomes over a million visitors who come to see the greatest drivers and the biggest names in motorsport battle it out on its hallowed grounds. And it is not just the sports that the speedway is famous for; the brand also gained notoriety for its hospitality, as numerous celebrities, politicians, and other famous figures were regular attendees of races at this “grand-daddy of American racing tracks.”
All White And Blue
While most people think of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when they think of American racing, the track actually began life in a neutral color palette as the White Commercial Racing Club. Its members were a group of white businessmen who were passionate about cars and racing. Being the second-oldest motorsport tournament in the United States, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was actually preceded by the Vanderbilt Cup, which was first held in 1875 and is the predecessor of the Indy 500. In the years that followed, the track became a mecca for motorcyclists, and by the 1930s, the majority of bricks that were used to build the facility were painted white. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the track’s color scheme became exclusively associated with NASCAR. Today, the white and blue combination is synonymous with American racing.
A Mecca For Motorcyclists
As mentioned, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway began as a mecca for motorcyclists. The very first motorcycle race was held there in 1911, and the crowds that turned out were so great that the race was moved to a road course on the outskirts of the city, where it still takes place today. Even in these early years, the facility was already considered one of the most important motorsport venues in the country. The track hosted the Daytona 500 in 1914 and the Indy 500 in 1922, making it the first ever host of multiple premier events. Even in its early years, the track was a hub for motorcycle enthusiasts, with many motorcyclist-related businesses, such as gear manufacturers and tire manufacturers, setting up shop there. The iconic Indian motorcycles were manufactured there for much of the 20th century, and it was the final assembly of these motorbikes that earned the company the title of “indy” in the first place. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway still hosts an annual motorcycle Grand Prix that draws thousands of motorcyclists, as well as manufacturers, to the track each year. It is quite an event when the streets of Indianapolis are lined with bikes more than a foot and a half high, and the fans really get into the action. The speedway goes all-out for this one, too, with the entire staff coming out to cheer on their riders. The MotoGP winner’s trophy is named the “Indianapolis Star,” after the city’s famous newspaper, and the entire city celebrates with the rider who wins the race.
Six Nationally Registered Driving Licenses
Another important aspect of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is that it has always been a welcoming environment for those with a love for cars and motorsport. For years, the track has had a special program where those who complete a full season of stock car racing earn a six-pack of tickets to any race at the venue during the following year. The program is known as Circle Six and was established in 1956 to allow participants to get a taste of competitive driving without having to worry about breaking the bank. Many celebrities, from movie stars to sports figures to country music stars, have participated in Circle Six over the years.
One of the most recognizable faces in Circle Six is none other than Dale Earnhardt, whose parents owned a bar/restaurant at the track and would take in racecars for a small fee. This meant that young Dale was able to constantly be around cars and drive them for pleasure as often as he liked, and that is exactly what made him so great. The success of Earnhardt and his subsequent championship reigns of the early 1990s made it a tradition for fans and other racing enthusiasts to take a drink at the bar, called The Works, every time he won. This practice continues to this day. In 2016, Earnhardt’s family donated over 400 trophies and 150 racing suits to the National Automobile Museum in Reno for the collection.
Over A Million Visitors A Year
It is safe to say that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a Mecca for motorsport fans. Each year, the track sees over a million visitors arrive at the grand opening to take a look at the facilities and the drivers, as well as to catch some of the competitions, including the Indy 500, the Brickyard 400, and the Crown Royal 400. It might not sound like a lot, but it is actually a huge number, considering that the track is most definitely not a traditional museum, it is very active, and it is difficult to get a ticket for any of the races, especially the Indy 500, which is always sold out ahead of time. The grand opening of the track in the spring is a colorful event that draws hundreds of people, with many dressed in period costumes and others dressed in outfits that represent their favorite racing driver or team.
History Is Written
In 2019, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated its 100th anniversary, which was a big deal because the track has been around for a while, but it is still considered a relatively young brand. The first ever NASCAR race was held at the venue in 1911 and the last race was held in 1934. The track has been the host of many prestigious events over the years, including the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, and the US Grand Prix. And with the exception of the Indy 500, which is still widely considered the “World’s Greatest Race,” everything else, including the Brickyard 400, is now regarded as part of the “Triple Crown” of American motorsport, along with the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has come a long way from its humble origins as a dirt oval to become one of the most recognizable and historic brands in all of sports. While it might not seem like it at first glance, the track has always remained the same, with the ability to welcome fans, drivers, and other famous figures, as well as to continue promoting and organizing motorsport events, all marked by its unique circle logo.