Saturday, May 14, 2016

500 facts: The road course

The road course is a throwback to Carl Fisher's original concept

Posted By on Sat, May 14, 2016 at 1:24 PM

click to enlarge Simon Pagenaud wins the inaugural Gran Prix of Indianapolis in 2014. - FILE PHOTO/INDYCAR
  • File photo/IndyCar
  • Simon Pagenaud wins the inaugural Gran Prix of Indianapolis in 2014.

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. Since IndyCars will run on the road course today, let's take a look at that part of IMS:

5. The original IMS design included a road course. Much like the track today, Carl Fisher’s initial plans called for an oval with a secondary road-style course that ran through the infield. The original three-mile oval was reduced to its current length and the road course was scrapped to make room for spectator seating.

48. The current glass-and-steel pagoda was constructed as part of an improvement project that ran from 1998-2000. The pagoda was one of many improvements that were undertaken to ready the track for F-1 racing — and to improve the Speedway’s facilities in general. The current building has ten levels and a flagpole that tops out at 199 feet.

49. And the road course was readied for Formula 1 in 2000. Turn One has gone from Snakepit to bike parking and stands to turns for the road course.

397. The Gran Prix of Indianapolis debuted in 2014. Of all the races run at Indy, from NASCAR to Indy Lights, top-shelf IndyCars running on the track’s road course became a reality in the moth of May, 2014. Simon Pagenaud took the inaugural checkered after a pretty hairy standing start that saw Indy Mayor Greg Ballard injured slightly by debris.

390. Motorcycles came back to the track in 2008. The MotoGP series came to Indy nearly a century after bikes first raced at IMS.

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Ed Wenck

Ed Wenck

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.

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