Saturday, May 30, 2009

Birthday Of The First Indy 500

The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, often shortened to Indianapolis 500 or Indy 500 or commonly known simply as The 500, is an American automobile race, held annually over the Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The event lends its name to the Indy Car class of forumula, or open-wheel, race cars that have competed in it.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex was built in 1909 as a gravel-and-tar track and hosted a smattering of small events before the promoters decided to focus on just one major event. The track was then paved with 3.2 million bricks, urged by principal owner Carl G. Fisher after several deaths related to the unsteady racing surface. The creation of a 500 mile (805 km) race allowed the track to rapidly acquire a privileged status for automobile races. The first "500" was held at the Speedway on Memorial Day, May 30, 1911, with Ray Harroun piloting a Marmon "Wasp" — outfitted with his invention, the rear view mirror. Harroun was declared the winner, although Ralph Mulford protested the official result. 80,200 spectators paid $1 admission, and an annual tradition had been established.
Why not share a piece of sports history with your kids today? You can download some coloring pages of all sorts of cars by clicking HERE and have them tell you which ones are race cars and which ones aren't. There are all sorts of activities you can create with a "race" theme (and a lot will use up those cardboard boxes you have laying around). So use your imagination to the races you go!