Hundreds of thousands of people have made it to IMS at one point or another to witness The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. But how many animals have made it to the Indianapolis 500? More than we thought! Scrolling through the photo archives we were amazed at the number of photos in the early days of the 500 that included dogs, horses and ducks. Yes, ducks. We even found photos of a lion (click here for more on that). We managed to narrow the animal photos down to a few favorites.
This photo from 1952 shows the first fan to arrive at the gates on Race Day morning. They perform a few tricks for the camera man before gates open. Side note: check out the license plate. All the way from California and still the first spectator in line on Race Day morning. It’s good to know the dedication and excitement our fans possess hasn’t changed since the 50’s.
Wilbur Shaw was a three-time Indy 500 winner and, eventually, the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Shaw began popping up in numerous photos with his horse. Horses were just one of Wilbur Shaw’s many hobbies. “He was very much of a sportsman. Trap shooting, darts, gin rummy, different card games,” said Donald Davidson of Shaw.
And then we found this photo of Wilbur Shaw and a group of ducks from 1952. Wildlife making its way onto the track from the infield has happened numerous times over the years. “Red foxes still live on the grounds of IMS today,” said Donald Davidson.
What would an animal Throwback Thursday post be without a picture of a cat? This is the internet after all. We managed to find this photo of 1938 Indianapolis 500 winner Floyd Roberts and his pet cat.
While pets aren’t allowed through the gates of IMS today, (despite the fact that our 2014 Brickyard 400 promo video claimed chinchillas get in free) animals still seem to find a way to the Speedway. If you make it out for practice days during the month of May, you’re bound to witness a Yellow Flag due to a critter on the track. Just one other tiny detail to look forward to during the month-long Indy 500 spectacle.