Monday, May 9, 2016

500 facts: Before the 500

No bricks, but balloons and bikes

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2016 at 11:34 AM

click to enlarge An artist's rendering of the original Speedway design — note that a road course was included early on, only to be eliminated to ensure more room for grandstands. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • An artist's rendering of the original Speedway design — note that a road course was included early on, only to be eliminated to ensure more room for grandstands.

Later this month, NUVO will present 500 facts about the Indy 500. Between now and then, we'll be sharing five facts per day from our upcoming story. 

Today, we'll dig into a few bits of trivia from the early days of IMS — before the 500 was even run.

8. The first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway occurred in the air. The track was the launching point for a balloon race on June 5, 1909 that saw a helium-lifted craft called the Universal City winning by landing nearly 400 miles away in Alabama after a day in the sky.

9. 40,000 people showed up for the balloon race. No word on who DJ’d the Snakepit.

10. The track originally had zero bricks on its surface. Compacted soil, limestone, gravel and a lovely-sounding goop called “taroid” covered the 2.5-mile track, which was, by all accounts, awful.

11. The first engine-powered vehicles racing on the track at IMS: motorcyles. Two days of racing were planned for Aug. 14-15, 1909, but track conditions deteriorated so quickly that the event was called after seven races on day one.

12. The earliest gate admission tickets cost 50 cents each. 25 cents for the kids!

Tags: , , , ,

Comments

Latest in Sports: Indy 500 - 500 Facts

Around the Web

This Week's Flyers

About The Author

Ed Wenck

Ed Wenck

Bio:
Ed Wenck has been writing for NUVO (as well as several other Indiana publications) for nearly 20 years while moonlighting as a radio host. He became Managing Editor of NUVO in 2013. He's authored four books and also reports for WISH-TV's Boomer TV program.

Today's Best Bets | All of today's events

Around the Web

All contents copyright © 2017 NUVO Inc.
3951 N. Meridian St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Website powered by Foundation