We’re chronicling 100 days of history on #SpeedRead leading up to the historic 100th Running. With 15 days to go, and on Race Day for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, we look back on what was originally envisioned for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
A road course was part of the original plans but it was never completed (if even started), mainly due to the problems with the laying down of the 2½-mile oval section. There seems to have been two or three versions proposed, the most commonly known one depicted on a postcard, which in spite of being well over 100 years old still surfaces from time to time and is known to be in a number of private collections. In fact, there was a period about a dozen years ago when eight or 10 per year would surface in various states around the country, although that rate has since slowed way down.
The proposal was that the infield section would commence with a left-hand turn a short way down the backstretch and then wind back and forth a couple of times through the infield, rejoining the backstretch just a few yards north of where the infield excursion had begun. The inclusion of this would increase the distance of a full lap to five miles.
Track founder Carl Fisher, whose brain was always leaping from one grand idea to the next, fantasized about landing both the Vanderbilt Cup and the American Grand Prize events for this circuit, envisioning the spectators on the main straight entertained throughout the day by having cars whiz by in front of them as well as behind. All of this was soon to be forgotten, however, with the trials and tribulations of laying the oval and it was not until around Christmas 1998 that an infield road course finally began to take shape.