Wednesday, May 18, 2016

500 facts: Indianapolis Motor Speedway tidbits

The pagoda first appeared in 1913

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2016 at 10:03 AM

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.

IMS got something of a facelift in the off-season, so let's dig into some track facts:

click to enlarge indianapolismotorspeedway-1909ticket.jpg

17. An early version of the “wing and wheel” logo appeared as early as the Speedway’s first motorized event. The tickets for the Aug. 1909 motorcycle and auto races feature a graphic with a central tire flanked by two outstretched wings. The letters “IMS” are superimposed on the picture.

18. The pagoda first appeared in 1913. The original four-tiered pagoda was razed by fire in 1925 to make room for the new pagoda, which was moved back from the track a considerable distance as speeds increased.

19. The golf course went in in 1929. Initially, the 27-hole course (!) had nine holes inside the track.

20. The starting flag was red until 1930. According to, “[A] green flag replaced a red one to start the 38 drivers on their 500-mile journey.” Today, a red flag means a race has been stopped or suspended due to unsafe conditions.

21. Flags were used to signal caution all around the track until 1935. That’s when lights first went in to signal the drivers, yellow and green side-by side at various locations around the oval.

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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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