The Indianapolis Motor Speedway had already held a balloon race and a motorcycle event, but on this date in 1909 cars took to the 2.5-mile oval for the first time. That first race was won by Louis Schwitzer, the chief engineer of Stoddard-Dayton, who averaged 57 mph in his four-cylinder car during a five-lap sprint race.
In the following years, IMS changed the schedule to host one race per year beginning in 1911 – The Indianapolis 500. Forty cars competed with Ray Harroun winning the first Indy 500 at an average speed of 74.602 miles per hour.
Can you believe we are now gearing up for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500? Time sure flies when you’re having fun!