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Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Allstate 400 at the Brickyard

Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

"Jackie WagerWeb"
April 19, 2006

It wasn't his beloved Indianapolis 500, but the former IndyCar champion, who won a race at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with all the Sportsbook odds on his side, he held off a determined challenge from Kasey Kahne to grab an emotional victory on last year’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

It was the fourth victory on six races and seventh top-10 finish in a row for the hottest driver in NASCAR, moving him into the lead in the Nextel Cup standings for the first time since he wrapped up his only Cup title in 2002.

This one was up for grabs nearly to the end, with Stewart taking his first lead by passing Brian Vickers 60 laps from the end. But the 25-year-old Kahne, the top rookie the year before, didn't make it easy, passing Stewart for the lead with 27 laps to go in the 160-lap event. Built in 1909 as an automobile proving ground, the speedway was built as a 2.5-mile rectangle by its four founders because that was the largest track that could be constructed on the land available.

The first event was a hot-air balloon race, followed by three days of racing in August of 1909. However, the crushed stone and tar track was so dangerous, work began immediately on repaving the entire surface with more than three million bricks.

The first 500-Mile International Sweepstakes was held on May 30, 1911 -- and with the exception of two world wars, remains a Memorial Day fixture.

Ray Harroun took nearly seven hours to complete the 500-mile distance in 1911, while Arie Luyendyk won the 1990 edition in a record two hours and 41 minutes.

The track and grounds deteriorated badly during World War II -- and plans were made to replace it with residential housing. But Terre Haute businessman Tony Hulman stepped in and purchased the speedway and began a series of improvements to the facility that continue to this day.

Several NASCAR teams were invited to a one-day test session at the speedway by track president Tony George in 1993 -- and the inaugural Brickyard 400 was held one year later. Jeff Gordon has won four of the 12 races held there.

The track hosted three separate race weekends in 1910, but poor attendance forced management to re-think its plans for 1911, choosing to run one large event instead.



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