A Brief History of the Indianapolis 500

Bettmann / CORBIS

A Race is Born
The first 500-mile (200-lap) race at the Speedway was held in 1911. It was won by Ray Harroun in a grueling 6 hours and 42 minutes, winning him $14,250. His average speed: 75 mph. Harroun's self-designed car, the Marmon Wasp, featured the first-ever automobile rearview mirror. Since then the Indianapolis 500 has been held every year except during World Wars I and II.

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