It’s almost hard to believe that it was 100 years ago this year that race car drivers first started competing in the Indianapolis 500. On May 30th, 1912, Carl Fisher, Jr., started the race and became the first official race winner. Since then, the Indianapolis 500 has grown to be one of the most exciting sporting events in the country. Every year, the race attracts thousands of people and sees some amazing sights and performances. While there are a lot of iconic images and moments from the race that you might remember, there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes that you probably had no idea existed. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the interesting facts about Coke in the Indy 500. So, let’s get to it.
Where Does The Name Coca Cola Come From?
It might surprise you to learn that the very name Coca Cola comes from a car race that was held in 1924. On that year’s Championship Weekend, a new kind of soft drink was introduced to the world: It was a joint effort between the Coca Cola Company and Pepsi Cola. The two companies put aside their differences to create a cola that combined the best qualities of both drinks. The new cola was named Coca Cola and it was an instant hit. Since that time, the soda has been known as Coca Cola and the race has been referred to as the Indianapolis 500-mile race or the Coca Cola Road Race. It’s pretty cool that a soda could become so synonymous with an event that it’s been called a “road race” since it was first held!
How Has Coca Cola Evolved As A Sponsor?
When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway first began, it was known solely as a racing track. However, today, the track also includes a museum, offices, and a library. The track is still owned by the Racing Association of Indianapolis, but it is open to the public. In addition, the Indianapolis Museum of Art opened to the public in the summer of 2016. So, almost 100 years after it all started, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is still thriving. If you’re ever in Indianapolis, make sure to stop by and tell them we sent you!
What Exactly Does Coca Cola Do At The Speedway?
Back in 1924, Coca Cola was still a fairly new brand. However, the company had already sponsored a number of famous races including the prestigious Florida Orange Blossom Classic and the Kentucky Derby. In 1927, the company made its foray into the World’s Fair with the “All-American Food Court.” It consisted of different food stalls crafted by famous chefs from all over the country. The concept was to have food from all 50 states. So, it might seem like a natural progression for the company to get involved in supporting a car race. At that point, it would have been pretty new to the sport. However, over the years, the company has become heavily involved in supporting the Indy 500 and it’s still one of the mainstays of the race today.
Where Does The Merchandise For The Race Come From?
If you’re ever at the track, there’s a good chance you’ll see someone selling various types of merchandise. Depending on the time of day, you’ll probably see more than one seller on the square. There are a number of companies that provide T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, and a variety of other racing-related items for the fans. One of the most recognizable companies is Printful, which provides all of the above plus posters, magnets, and more! It’s a great chance for fans to sport their favorite team’s gear while they’re supporting their favorite race!
Who Are The Main Race Car Drivers?
The Indianapolis 500 race has always been dominated by American drivers. In fact, since the 1922 race, only three foreign drivers have won the prestigious race: Stirling Moss (GB), Al Unser (USA), and A.J. Foyt (USA). However, in 2016, an Australian driver won the race for the first time in history. Alexander Rossi beat out more than 50 other competitors to claim the checkered flag.
On the other side of the fence, only three Americans have won the Indy 500 a total of 11 times, the most recent being Juan Pablo Montoya in 2005. The list of the most successful Americans in the race includes:
- Johnny Rutherford (5 wins)
- A.J. Foyt (4 wins)
- Jimmy Chapman (3 wins)
- Jack Rath (2 wins)
- Bill Vukovich (2 wins)
- Ricky Henderson (2 wins)
- Clyde Lynn (1 win)
- Phil Hill (1 win)
- Al Unser (1 win)
- Stirling Moss (1 win)
- A.C. Klein (1 win)
Nowadays, more and more American drivers are getting involved in international racing. However, it’s still the traditional ‘home’ crowd that tends to show up at the track. In fact, most of the foreign drivers that participate in the Indy 500 are from the United Kingdom (13.89%), followed by Germany (11.11%), and Australia (6.06%). In 2016, one of Great Britain’s finest, Lewis Hamilton, won the Indy 500. It was his second win in the prestigious race. So, it appears that the British are still very much into cars!
Where Do The Names Thedora Pankey And Ethel Winch Come From?
Thedora Pankey was the first African-American woman to receive a driver’s license in Indiana. Shortly after, she made headlines for becoming the first African-American woman to win a beauty pageant. In 1929, she entered the Indianapolis 500 and finished 31st in a field of 32 cars. Unfortunately, there weren’t any African-American-owned car clubs at the time. So, it looks like Ethel Winch was the first African-American woman to compete in the Indy 500 back in 1922. During that time, she was a famous trackwalker and part-time racer. However, she never really got the chance to shine in the race until 1929 when she finished fifth in a field of 32 cars. Since then, there have been a number of African-American racing legends, including Jesse Owens, whose achievements in the 1936 Olympics still stand as one of the greatest races in history. In 2016, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated the 100th anniversary of the event with a number of special guests. Among these were Olympians and former racers, including Betty Williams and Louise Katz!
Do All Of The Restaurants And Shops On The Square Offer The Same Menu?
The most iconic image from the Indianapolis 500 is undoubtedly that of the diners at the track’s eateries watching the cars race by. Since the year 2000, the speedway has opened a number of restaurants and food trucks, selling everything from pizza to doughnuts and even taco trucks. One of the best places to eat is Matt’s Bar-B-Que. Each year, on Championship Weekend, the restaurant doubles in size, attracting even more fans to its square location. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, there’s a good chance you’ll find what you’re looking for on the square. You might want to visit the Matt’s Bar-B-Que website to learn more about their unique blend of styles and offerings.
Do People Stay In Touch With The Past?
Just because the cars are gone doesn’t mean that the past is gone. In fact, it’s in many ways, more vibrant than ever before. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and other similar race tracks still maintain lists of eligible drivers who competed in the race a long time ago. Anyone who meets the criteria is still welcome to join the search for a competitive drive and perhaps one day win the Indy 500.
What Is The Grandstand Experience Like?
There is a reason why the Indy 500 is one of the most popular spectator sports in the United States: It’s because of the experience that the fans get when they attend the race. For almost 100 years, the Speedway has attracted big crowds and created an atmosphere that is unlike any other sports event. The track is open to the public and it doesn’t get too crowded even during the busy part of the year, making it a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the world.