A Core that Shows the History of a Track

The most historic track in the world is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and this track is where we see several races held each year. Between Formula One racing and NASCAR races that are held at this speedway, it’s amazing to think about what this amazing racetrack has been over the years and the number of harrowing speed demons has made their way to the track to show off what they can do on the biggest stage. Whether it’s the Indianapolis 500 that are held on Memorial Day each year or one of the other races that are held, this is the place where racing has been a lot of fun in America over the years.
Recently, a core sample of the track was taken to examine the health of the track and show the layers that have been placed on the track over the time it’s been in existence. A photo of this core sample can be seen on the twitter feed of @jdouglas4 showing a mesmerizing track piece that shows all the different levels of what the track has been paved with all the way down to the bricks that were laid many years ago.

What Brought on the Track Layers?

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened for its inaugural race in August of 1909 and at the time the track was basically gravel. The actual track surface was a combination of creek gravel, limestone, taroid, and many other stones which eventually created a roadway that crumbled under the cars as they rode around the track like a stale cookie. There were five fatalities during this race and if track owner Carl G. Fisher expected to have a real race at the track he would have to do something to make it possible.
Before the end of 1909, he had the track repaved in bricks and opened it back up to racing. The brick paving worked and after a full year of racing with no fatalities, Indianapolis Motor Speedway was able to host its first 500-mile race. This brick surface earned the track the nickname “the Brickyard” and the surface survived until 1961 when it was repaved in asphalt for the first time, giving the track a smooth surface that was closer to the standard track surface at the time, but a row of bricks has always been visible on the start/finish line.
There have been several times the track has been repaved and had to be reviewed to see how safe and healthy the track has been. the current president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Dough Boles, shared the pictures of the core sample that reaches down from the current level to the base of the track where the bricks are located. Over the years, this track has shown a variety of different levels of racing and the various eras of racing in the Formula One history that makes this track one that we’ve loved and admired over the years. There was a time when the track was shaved back which results in a total loss of 7.5-inches of blacktop being cut back.

Written by Jesseb Shiloh

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