Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson has been the expert on the history of the Racing Capital of the World since he arrived in Central Indiana in the mid-1960s. Now 2010 Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee Davidson is answering your questions periodically in this blog!
Q: With the Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP race approaching, I find myself wondering if any Indiana-built (or even Indianapolis-built) motorcycles ever raced or were tested at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
—Scott Smith, Brownsburg, Ind.
A: It turns out that there were actually several motorcycle companies in Indiana in the early days, but as with the majority of the automobile firms, they were short-lived, typically lasting only a year or two. Certainly none ever was tested at the track in the early days, the only makes participating in the seven events held during the one and only day of actual competition—Aug, 14, 1909—being Indian, Harley-Davidson, NSU, Excelsior, Reading Standard, Peugeot, Merkel, Minneapolis and Thor.