Indianapolis 500: The Greatest Spectacle In Racing

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The first Indy 500 in 1911 changed several things for Indiana. This event made it more of a tourist area because of the new race track. Not only did it change Indiana, it changed racing. The first Indy 500 made racing with cars instead of horses more popular. It changed Indiana and car racing for the better. The Indianapolis 500 is known as “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing” because of Alice Greene who coined the phrase in 1955 (Indianapolis). Since the inaugural race, this racing event, has became surrounded with rich and great tradition. The very first Indy 500 was on May 30, 1911 (Auto). This day happened to be Decoration Day or as we know it Memorial Day (Auto). This race consists of 200 laps on a 2.5 mile oval circuit (Keefer). The race…show more content…
The balloons spent over a day in the air and then finally landed 382 miles away in Alabama (Tale). When the track was used for cars it wasn’t paved, it was 2-inches of gravel, limestone, and stone covered in oily tar (Tale). Years later, the gravel and stones were replaced with 3.2 million brick, weighing a total of 16,000 tons (Tale). Since it was mostly bricks, in December 1909 it was announced as the “Brickyard” (Tale). In 1910, 66 automobile races took place (Tale). They all occurred on three holiday weekends- Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day (Tale). The Attendance fell at each race, from 60,000 people on Memorial Day to 18,000 by Labor Day (Tale). The first 500 race received much publicity (Tale). It helped that the prize fund was $30,150, $14,250 of which was allocated by the winner. Since the winner got what was a ton back then everyone wanted to race or…show more content…
Drinking milk after you win, balloons before the race starts, and the Borg-Warner Trophy. Before you start the race, there are tons are multi-colored balloons released. It is believed 1947 was the first year that this balloon tradition was started. Drinking milk is another tradition but it is a weird one that was started by a three-time Indianapolis winner, Louis Meyer. He drank buttermilk regularly to refresh himself on hot days and just happened to drink some after he won the race in 1936. Between 1947-1955 milk was no longer offered, but then it was allowed again in 1956 and has been a weird tradition ever since. The Borg-Warner Trophy is one of the most recognizable trophies in all sports and has be awarded to every winner of the Indy 500 race since 1936 (Indianapolis). I do believe that the first Indy 500 helped change racing and Indiana for the better. Even though the Indy 500 has been a tradition since the first race, it has changed a lot. It changed Indiana mostly for the better and very little for the worst. It also made car racing a known tradition throughout the world not just in Indiana. The first race did make huge impact on Indiana. It made Indiana have one of the best racing tracks, gave more publicly to racing as well as Indianapolis, and it helped racing become a known “sport”. The Indy 500 is a known tradition and always will

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