The Indy500 Turns 100, Celebrating Years of American Motorsports

The Indy500 Turns 100, Celebrating Years of American Motorsports
Courtesy of indianapolismotorspeedway.com
Courtesy of indianapolismotorspeedway.com

May has begun and so has the countdown for THE major motor racing event of the century (quite literally). Only one has truly stood the test of time, and is also considered the very essence by which all of racing events are compared: the 100th Indy 500.

On Sunday, May 29 2016 the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” the Indianapolis 500, is celebrating their 100th race. No other race or circuit can lay claim to that level of tradition and longevity the way the Indy 500 has. It is the literal backbone of all American motorsports.

Long ago, Indiana businessmen Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Arthur C. Newby and Frank H. Wheeler put all of their collective resources together in order to create the Indianapolis Motor Speedway  in 1909 as an automobile testing ground. Back then Indiana had a growing and thriving automotive industry. It was only later, on May 30th 1911 with Ray Harroun winning the inaugural Indianapolis 500 where it shifted to a racetrack.

Who would have thought that 100 years later the track and motor racing would still be very much active.

 “I think it will be a really, great successful month for IndyCar. It’s such a great sport and the way the cars are built now you can be more aggressive,” said Will Power, who drives for Team Penske (MotorTrend).

“I think it’s the best racing in the world and there’s no open wheel racing like ours. The parity amongst the whole field is really good and it’s obviously close racing. There were nine different winners last year, what more could you ask for.”

So for those not yet in the know, the racing is really that impressive. Last season introduced a new aero package giving a new competitive boost to the IndyCar Series races. The skills of the drivers have never been more paramount than now. Today, more cars are running on the lead lap, more passing and down to the wire finishes than ever before. The current rules package this year ensure that the 100th will continue this.

“It’s a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the world’s greatest race. This is American tradition and it’s the biggest single day sporting event in the world and our automotive industry is based around it,” said former winner Ryan Hunter-Rae, a driver for Andretti Autosport (Autoblog).

Tradition is paramount this year.

“The tangibles about it, the yard of bricks, the pagoda, the landmarks, the tradition and the history of it. The best thing is to go into the museum and learn the history of the track and learn the history of the this race. I guarantee that by the time you step out of it you’ll be a fan for life,” said Mark Miles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hulman and Company, which operates the speedway (MotorTrend).

The speedway has kicked their marketing machines into high gear like never before. The hype is REAL for the May 29th race. We’ve been steadily getting week after week of snippets all over social media and the press all covering the different drivers and cars throughout the years. It’s almost an interactive marketing campaign, not unlike what you’d find for the latest Hollywood franchise flick. People are even allowed to vote for the best 500 champion in history. There is so much community involvement being emphasized above all so we bet that they will have no problem selling tickets in the 250,000 crowd capacity.

It all helps to build up to a payoff for the history, tradition, and hopefully the future of the IndyCar Series. By engaging with more people it’s like they are not only trying to expand their fan base but make them a real part of the ceremonies as well. Any number of other sports have had their moment of victory in the spotlights of history. And now with 100 years and counting under its belt, it is the time for America’s automotive sports to show off why they are called “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

 

Tell us what your favorite automotive sport is in the comments section below, we love hearing from our readers and all of your valuable insight. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!

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