Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Completed : 1909
Distance : 2.5 miles
Shape : Oval
Banking : 9° turns
Frontstretch : 3,330 feet
Backstretch : 3,330 feet
Seating : 250,000+
Built in 1909 as an automobile proving ground, the speedway was built as a 2.5-mile rectangle by its four founders because that was the largest track that could be constructed on the land available.
The first event was a hot-air balloon race, followed by three days of racing in August 1909. However, the crushed stone and tar track was so dangerous that work began immediately on repaving the entire surface with more than three million bricks.
The track hosted three separate race weekends in 1910, but poor attendance forced management to re-think its plans for 1911, choosing to run one large event instead.
The first 500-Mile International Sweepstakes was held on May 30, 1911, and with the exception of two world wars, remains a Memorial Day fixture.
Ray Harroun took nearly seven hours to complete the 500-mile distance in 1911, while Arie Luyendyk won the 1990 edition in a record two hours and 41 minutes.
The track and grounds deteriorated badly during World War II -- and plans were made to replace it with residential housing. But Terre Haute businessman Tony Hulman stepped in and purchased the speedway and began a series of improvements to the facility that continue to this day.
Several NASCAR teams were invited to a one-day test session at the speedway by track president Tony George in 1993, and the inaugural Brickyard 400 was held one year later.