I've been throwing the term "Indianapolis 500" around like that is the actual name of the race. 

The race was originally advertised as the "International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race," and that stuck from 1911 to 1916, although since the beginning the race has been widely known as the Indianapolis 500 or simply "the 500". 

After WW I, the race was referred to as the "Liberty Sweepstakes." Following WW II, the race was commonly recognized as "The 500", "The 500-Mile Race", "Indianapolis 500-Mile Race", or "Indianapolis 500." Typically the number of the race (for example "50th") preceded it. From 1920 to 1980 the race officially reverted to the original "International Sweepstakes" name, as printed on the tickets and other materials (with slight variations over the years).

For the 1981 race, the name "Indianapolis 500-Mile Race" was officially adopted, with all references to the "International Sweepstakes" dropped. 

The Borg-Warner Trophy, introduced in 1936, proclaims the event as the "Indianapolis 500-Mile Race", with no reference at all to the name "International Sweepstakes." 

Interestingly during the "International Sweepstakes" era, there were at least 20 years that there were no international drivers in the starting grid. 

The 1962 Indy 500 was the last time the entire 33-car field consisted of U.S.-born participants. 


I'm counting down the days until the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

I'm not a race fan in the fanatic sense. I've only been to the Indy 500 a handful of times. My memories center around listening to the race on the radio in the backyard while filling out the leading laps grid from the Indianapolis Star.

I do love Indianapolis, tradition, and most of all a theme! Each day I will share a memory or tidbit of history.