IMS Historical Development Timeline

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  • March 9, 1909: Driver Lewis Strang, on his way from Chicago to Daytona Beach, Fla., stops in Indianapolis and is taken to visit the site of the “motor parkway,” which will soon be known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He poses for a photo which, almost 100 years later, will be titled “The Vision.” The major work has not yet begun, but an 8-foot-long scale miniature of the 2.5-mile rectangular-shaped oval sits at the southeast corner of the property so that passersby on the Crawfordsville Pike (later West 16th Street) can see what is planned.
  • Dec. 10, 1909: The brick-paving job is completed, 63 days after work began. Even before the work is done, locals have nicknamed the track “The Brickyard.”
  • 1913: A four-tier tower of the Japanese pagoda design was erected. It was razed using fire in 1925 to make way for a larger Pagoda of similar design.
  • 1926: The original Pagoda, which was razed with fire after the 1925 Indianapolis 500, was replaced with a similar yet slightly larger version in time for the 1926 race. As speeds increased, officials felt the original Pagoda was built too close to the track, and thus the new Pagoda was built considerably further back from the main straightaway.
  • 1929: A golf course was added to the Speedway's landscape. Today's Brickyard Crossing Golf Course sits on the same land outside the oval backstretch and inside the oval's infield.
  • 1935: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the first track in the world to install safety-warning lights. Also in 1935, helmet use became mandatory at the Speedway, a first for motor racing worldwide.
  • 1938: Asphalt was laid on the entire surface except the middle section of both straightaways.
  • Mid-to-late 1940s: The facilities were in deplorable condition after four years of deterioration during World War II, so a long-range program of improvements was launched immediately. The old wooden grandstands were replaced with steel and concrete structures as rapidly as possible in following years.
  • 1957: A new Master Race Control Tower (replacing the 1926 Pagoda), Tower Terrace and Pit Area were built for the 1957 Indianapolis 500- along with a new tunnel under the backstretch. Other improvements followed quickly.
  • April 5, 1976: The new, multi-million dollar Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum was opened to the public, featuring approximately 75 classic automobiles, motorcycles and racing cars. The museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Summer 1976: The entire track was resurfaced with asphalt, marking the first complete repaving since paving bricks were laid in late 1909.
  • Spring 1986: A new garage area complex was built, which includes 96 individual garages for race teams and new accessory rooms accommodating up to 25 participating companies.
  • 1994: Victory Lane was transformed into a circular, rotating lift in the Tower Terrace horseshoe, and a new, 97-foot-tall scoring pylon with modern electronics replaced the pylon that marked the main straightaway since 1959. In addition to track renovations, the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway Administrative Office was completed at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road (outside Turn 1).
  • Dec. 2, 1998: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced plans to play host to the United States Grand Prix Formula One race at the Speedway starting in 2000. Work began to prepare the track for the race, including the development of a 2.605-mile road course and 36 pit-side garages for the Formula One teams.
  • Spring 2000: Construction continued on the new Pagoda control tower, pit-side garages and 2.605-mile road course in preparation for the inaugural United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis on Sept. 24, 2000. It is the most ambitious construction project in Speedway history.
  • July 30, 2007: Construction began on a new 2.621-mile road course to be used for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP race Sept. 14, 2008. The 16-turn circuit included parts of the famed 2.5-mile oval and the Speedway's original road circuit, built in 1999-2000 for the United States Grand Prix. The new portions of the course included a four-turn complex adjacent to Turn 1 of the oval, and a three-turn complex behind the IMS Hall of Fame Museum. Riders will compete on the course in a counter-clockwise direction, the same as the oval.