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  • Writer's pictureDavid Story

The Brickyard

If you enjoy the art and history of the Indianapolis 500, check out my book The First 30 Years of the Indianapolis 500

The Brickyard

The race track now known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the vision of Carl G. Fisher. In time, what was an overgrown 320 acres on the edge of Indianapolis, became known as the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” because of Fisher’s vision. He was an entrepreneur, a businessman, and a race car driver—and was the driving force behind the creation of the speedway. He envisioned the need for a proving ground for burgeoning American auto manufacturers where they could test their products and race against the best competitors from around the world. 

The 2.5-mile oval track consists of four corners which are 60 feet wide, a quarter-mile long, and banked at just over nine degrees. The turns are connected on the north and south ends by “short chutes” one-eighth of a mile long. A 50-foot-wide front and back straightaway five-eighths of a mile long connected the turns.

The original surface of crushed stone and tar couldn’t withstand the pounding wheels of the race cars, so Fisher had the entire Speedway paved with bricks. Hence the name “The Brickyard” came into being and remains its nickname today. It required 3.2 million bricks, each grouted with cement, to complete the resurfacing of the track.


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