The Shocking Truth: When Bricks Were Removed from Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) is an iconic racetrack that has been a staple of American racing since 1909. The track is known for its distinctive brick surface, which was once used for the entire circuit. However, over time, the bricks were gradually replaced by asphalt, and today only a small strip of bricks remains at the start/finish line.

The removal of the bricks has been a contentious issue among racing fans, with some arguing that it’s a necessary step for safety reasons, while others believe it’s a betrayal of the track’s heritage. But when were the bricks actually removed? It’s a question that has puzzled many racing enthusiasts over the years, and the answer may surprise you.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history of the brick paving at IMS, the legacy of the Brickyard, and the reasons why the bricks were ultimately removed. We’ll also examine the impact of this decision on racing and the future of the track. Buckle up and get ready to uncover the shocking truth about when the bricks were removed from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

If you’re a racing fan, or just interested in the history of this legendary track, you won’t want to miss this in-depth exploration of the subject. We’ll take you behind the scenes and provide you with all the facts and insights you need to understand this controversial issue. So keep reading to discover the truth about one of the most iconic racetracks in the world.

The History of Brick Paving at IMS

Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) is steeped in history, and one of its most notable features is its use of brick paving on the track surface. The tradition dates back to the early days of the track, when the surface was originally made of gravel and tar. In 1909, IMS founders Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Arthur C. Newby, and Frank H. Wheeler decided to pave the track with more durable materials, and chose a combination of bricks and concrete. The first Indy 500 race was held on this new surface in 1911, and the tradition of brick paving at IMS was born.

Over the years, the brick surface has undergone many changes and renovations. In the 1930s, the bricks were covered with a layer of asphalt to create a smoother racing surface. In the 1960s, the bricks were removed from the main straightaway and replaced with asphalt to improve safety. Today, a 36-inch strip of bricks remains at the start-finish line, serving as a reminder of the track’s storied history.

Brickyard 400

The Brickyard 400 is an annual NASCAR Cup Series race held at IMS. The race was first held in 1994, and has become one of the most prestigious events on the NASCAR calendar. The race takes place on the same track surface as the Indy 500, with drivers competing on a combination of asphalt and bricks.

Brickyard Crossing Golf Course

In addition to hosting races, IMS is also home to the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course. The course is built around the track, and features four holes located inside the oval. Golfers have the unique opportunity to tee off on the same surface where race car drivers compete for glory.

Brick Paving Restoration

  • In 2019, IMS announced plans to restore the remaining brick surface at the track. The project involved removing the asphalt covering from the short chutes, and replacing it with a new layer of bricks. The work was completed in time for the 103rd running of the Indy 500 in May 2019.
  • The restored brick surface was unveiled during pre-race ceremonies, with the traditional “kissing of the bricks” taking place on the new surface. The restoration project ensures that the tradition of brick paving at IMS will continue for many years to come.

IMS is a one-of-a-kind venue, steeped in tradition and history. From its early days as a gravel and tar track to its modern incarnation as a state-of-the-art racing facility, the history of brick paving at IMS is a testament to the enduring legacy of this iconic venue.

The Legacy of the Brickyard

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway‘s Brickyard has a rich history that has left a lasting impact on the world of motorsports. From its early days as a horse racing track to its transformation into one of the most iconic racetracks in the world, the Brickyard has played a crucial role in the evolution of motorsports.

Today, the Brickyard serves as a symbol of tradition, endurance, and innovation, inspiring generations of racing fans and drivers alike. Let’s take a closer look at the legacy of this historic racetrack and how it has shaped the world of motorsports.

The Birth of the Brickyard

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1911 that the first Indianapolis 500 was held on the track. The original surface of the track was made up of crushed stone and tar, which proved to be inadequate for the high speeds of the race cars. In 1914, the track was paved with over 3 million bricks, hence the name “Brickyard.” The bricks proved to be durable and long-lasting, making them a popular choice for racetracks at the time.

Despite several attempts to pave the entire track with asphalt, the famous yard of bricks remained intact on the start/finish line. Today, the tradition of kissing the bricks after a win is a beloved tradition in the world of motorsports, honoring the track’s rich history.

The Evolution of Motorsports

The Brickyard has played a significant role in the evolution of motorsports. It was the site of several important milestones in racing history, including the first-ever use of a pace car, the introduction of rearview mirrors, and the development of the first-ever turbocharged engine. The track has also hosted a variety of racing series over the years, from NASCAR to Formula One, making it one of the most versatile racetracks in the world.

Today, the Brickyard continues to push the boundaries of innovation and technology, with the introduction of the Indy Autonomous Challenge, a race featuring self-driving race cars, set to take place in October 2021.

The Enduring Legacy

The legacy of the Brickyard extends beyond its contribution to the world of motorsports. The track has become a cultural icon, representing the spirit of innovation, endurance, and determination. Its annual races bring in millions of fans from around the world, making it one of the most widely watched sporting events in the world.

Furthermore, the Brickyard has become a symbol of the city of Indianapolis itself, with its cultural and economic impact extending far beyond the racetrack. The legacy of the Brickyard will continue to inspire generations of racing fans and drivers for years to come.

As we have seen, the Brickyard has left an indelible mark on the world of motorsports and beyond. Its rich history, enduring legacy, and innovative spirit have made it a true icon in the world of racing, inspiring countless drivers and fans to push the limits of what is possible.

Why Did IMS Remove the Bricks?

Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) is a venue steeped in history, with the bricks on its track serving as a prominent symbol of that history. So, why did IMS make the decision to remove the bricks in 1961?

The reasons behind the decision to remove the bricks are numerous and complex. One of the main factors was safety concerns. The surface of the bricks was uneven and caused frequent crashes, which put drivers at risk. Additionally, the bricks were difficult and expensive to maintain, especially as the track grew in size over the years.


Another factor that contributed to the removal of the bricks was the need to modernize the track. As the sport of racing evolved, so too did the technologies and materials used to construct tracks. The use of asphalt as a racing surface was becoming more common, and the smoother surface offered numerous advantages over the bricks. Asphalt provided better traction and was less likely to cause crashes, which made it a safer option for drivers.

A New Tradition

Although the bricks were removed from the racing surface, they were not completely forgotten. In fact, a new tradition was born in 1996 with the installation of a strip of bricks at the start-finish line. The strip of bricks pays homage to the track’s history and serves as a reminder of the legacy of the track and the sport of racing.

The Bricks Remain

While the bricks may no longer be a part of the racing surface at IMS, their legacy lives on. The iconic bricks serve as a reminder of the track’s storied past and the countless drivers who have left their mark on the speedway. The decision to remove the bricks may have been controversial at the time, but it ultimately allowed the track to continue to evolve and remain a vital part of the racing community for generations to come.

The Impact of the Brick Removal on Racing

The decision to remove the iconic “Yard of Bricks” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) was met with controversy and concern about the impact it would have on racing. While some believed it was necessary for safety reasons, others argued that it was a tradition that should be preserved.

So, what has been the impact of the brick removal on racing at IMS? Let’s take a closer look.

Track Conditions

The removal of the bricks and subsequent repaving of the track had a significant impact on the racing surface. The new pavement has more grip, allowing cars to go faster and make tighter turns. However, the change in surface also led to a decrease in tire wear and an increase in fuel consumption.

Fan Reaction

Many fans were upset about the removal of the bricks, which were a beloved part of the speedway’s history. However, others were open to the change and appreciated the efforts to improve safety and modernize the track. While attendance figures have remained strong, some fans have expressed a desire to see the bricks return in some capacity.


The “Yard of Bricks” will always be a significant part of IMS’s history, and its removal has not changed that. While it may no longer be a physical part of the track, the bricks live on through souvenirs, photos, and memories. Additionally, the decision to remove the bricks has sparked important conversations about the balance between tradition and progress in motorsports.

The Future of the Brickyard

Despite the removal of the bricks, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway remains an iconic venue for motorsports. Racing fans from all over the world flock to this historic track every year to witness some of the most thrilling races in the world. So, what does the future hold for the Brickyard?

The Speedway continues to innovate and adapt to the changing landscape of motorsports. In recent years, the track has added new events such as the IndyCar Grand Prix and the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational, which have both been successful. The Speedway has also invested in upgrades such as new scoring pylon, better track lighting, and improved Wi-Fi connectivity for fans.

Expansion of Racing Events

  • The Speedway is looking to attract more racing series to its schedule, with talks of bringing NASCAR’s All-Star race to the track.
  • The IndyCar Series is exploring the possibility of adding more races at the Speedway, with discussions of a road course race in addition to the Indianapolis 500.

Renovations to the Facility

  • The Speedway is exploring options to enhance fan experience, including new grandstands, improved restrooms, and more food and beverage options.
  • The track is also considering upgrades to the garages and paddock areas, making it more accommodating for racing teams and drivers.

The Future of Electric Racing

  • The Speedway has also shown interest in electric racing, with the addition of the Indy Autonomous Challenge, featuring driverless cars, which took place in 2021.
  • As electric racing continues to grow, the Speedway could look into hosting electric racing series such as Formula E, which would attract a new fanbase and bring a different kind of racing to the historic track.

The future of the Brickyard is bright, with the Speedway’s commitment to innovation and adapting to the changing world of motorsports. As the track continues to evolve and improve, racing fans around the world will continue to flock to the Brickyard, eager to witness the next chapter of this legendary venue’s story.

When Were Bricks Removed From Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

What was the original surface of Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The original surface of Indianapolis Motor Speedway was made up of over 3 million paving bricks, earning the nickname “The Brickyard.” surface

When was the first brick removed from Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The first brick was removed from Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1938 to mark the start/finish line, which was repainted white instead of using a white strip of bricks. 1938

When was the last race on the brick surface at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The last race on the brick surface at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was in 1961, which was won by A.J. Foyt. The track was paved with asphalt the following year. 1961

Why were the bricks removed from Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The bricks were removed from Indianapolis Motor Speedway because they were deteriorating and becoming a safety hazard for drivers. deteriorating, safety hazard

What happened to the bricks that were removed from Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

Many of the bricks that were removed from Indianapolis Motor Speedway were sold to fans as souvenirs, while others were used in the construction of buildings and racetracks around the world. sold, souvenirs, construction

Are any bricks still visible at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

Yes, a one-yard strip of bricks was left exposed at the start/finish line of Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a tribute to the track’s history. exposed, tribute

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!