A Brief History of the Indianapolis 500

Michael Kim / Corbis

The Brickyard
Built in 1909 in a stretch of Indiana farmland, the Speedway was originally designed as a smooth area to test new cars. The 2.5-mile track, pictured here in 2005, was originally surfaced with crushed rock and tar— a disastrous choice, as it broke apart and prompted accidents killing several drivers and spectators on its first use. The track was promptly resurfaced with bricks — 3.2 million of them — spawning the site's nickname "The Brickyard." The course is technically located in Speedway, Indiana, a town of about 13,000 completely surrounded by Indianapolis.

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