Many cities have been left in ruins after being hit by a tornado or hurricane, but a city in Indiana has been completely untouched. The reason for this is that Indiana is home to one of the best-guarded citadels in the entire United States: the Speedway.
Tourists and residents alike flock to the city’s quaint downtown each and every day, lining the streets for the big game that happens there each year. The city’s devotion to motorsport is also felt throughout the year, as residents and visitors alike take part in the action at the track, whether it’s for racing, stock car or Indy car. Between the breathtaking speed and the heart-pounding sounds, it’s not hard to see why anyone would be there, especially during the holidays when the action is often livelier and more enjoyable.
A Brief History Of Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was first founded in 1910 and was originally built for the Indianapolis 500, which is now the largest single-day sporting event in the world. It is currently situated on 37 acres of land in the middle of the city. The speedway has five straight rows of grandstands and another 200,000+ seats in terrace boxes scattered around the track. Each year, the stadium holds over 200,000 guests and has an economic impact of $36.5 billion (according to Forbes). The track is also host to the annual Peyton Manning Cup, which features several iconic racing drivers and their teams. Notable among these is Jim Clark, who won the Indy 500 in 1951 and later lost his life in a racing accident. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is considered by some to be the Mecca of motorsport.
The Controversy Surrounding The Indy 500
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has never been short on controversy. In the past, the track has been host to racially-charged taunts from spectators and angry letters from competitors. One of the most notorious examples of this was in 1934, when a fight broke out between fans of two different nationalities, resulting in at least one death. One of the men who died was an Italian immigrant, Giuseppe Zangarini, who was taunted with “Remember Rome” and “Men of Italy, Here We Come”, which were two phrases used by the Nazis during World War II. In fact, the speedway was originally known as the “Indianapolis Racetrack” and was only renamed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1957.
Sadly, such incidents are still common at the track today, even though they have somewhat declined in frequency. In fact, in 2016, there were only seven incidents reported by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, while the previous year there were 11. These numbers represent a 52% decrease from 2015, when there were 19 incidents at the speedway. While some of these may have been isolated cases of people being disrespectful to others, there are still residents in Indianapolis who feel that the track could be doing more to keep the peace. The lack of a leitmotif for teams and drivers is also a point of contention, as many feel that the track could do more to promote and encourage diversity on and off the track.
What Is A “City”?
Before we begin, it is important to establish what exactly a city is. In the United States, a city is usually defined as “a municipal corporation with a population of at least 10,000.” In simpler terms, a city is a large, populated area that is generally considered to be a distinct entity from the surrounding territories. What makes a city special is the array of services and amenities that it offers to its residents. Large cities are often considered to be the economic and cultural centers of a region, meaning that they often host a variety of businesses, universities and recreational facilities.
How Is Speedway Different From Other Cities?
As mentioned above, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a unique place. But what makes it so special? Well, for one thing, it has been completely unscathed by any kind of disaster. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the city, which has been greatly affected by floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. Most of the surrounding areas, including the airport and the rest of the downtown, were completely deserted after the floodwaters subsided. Only the iconic stadium stood as a monument to the power of Mother Nature.
Another significant difference between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and other parts of the city is the atmosphere. The track is a Mecca for sports fans, with over 200,000 people visiting each year to catch a glimpse of the action. It is easy for tourists to find their way there, as there is ample visitor parking and plenty of free shuttles run by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Municipal Transit Authority and the Indianapolis Downtown Partnership.
The downtown streets are bustling with activity all year long, as residents and visitors alike come together in support of their favorite sports teams. Even more people visit the city during the course of the year to take part in one of the most vibrant auto racing scenes anywhere. In fact, the speedway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, drawing over 5 million visitors annually. With its unique combination of history, culture and sports, the city of Indianapolis is certainly a place that any automotive enthusiast should visit at least once in their lifetime.