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In front of some 12,000 spectators, automotive engineer Louis H.
Schwitzer wins the two-lap, five-mile inaugural race at the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.

On this day in 1909, the first race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,
now the home of the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500.

Built on 328 acres of farmland five miles northwest of Indianapolis, Indiana,
the speedway was started by local businessmen as a testing facility for
Indiana’s growing automobile industry.

 In that first five-mile race on August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators watched
Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win with an average speed of 57.4 miles
per hour. The track’s surface of crushed rock and tar proved a disaster,
breaking up in a number of places and causing the deaths of two drivers,
two mechanics and two spectators.

The surface was soon replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed
of sand and fixed with mortar. Dubbed “The Brickyard,” the speedway
reopened in December 1909.

The above photo showing the bricks that were used to resurface
the speedway track.

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Louis Schwitzer (center) and crew.

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Louis H Schwitzer
(February 29, 1880 – May 9, 1967)

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                              Indianapolis Motor Speedway 
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posted by Bob Karm in ANNIVERSARY,AUTO RACING,HISTORY,THEN AND NOW and have No Comments

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