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Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the First Indianapolis 500

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Pre-WWII Racing Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the First Indianapolis 500

Representative Mike Pence
Congressional Record (Extensions of Remarks)
May 27, 2011

Mr. PENCE. Mr. Speaker, Memorial Day Weekend means many things to Americans. It is a time to remember those who have taken up arms on our behalf and did not make it home. It is also the unofficial start of summer. But to Hoosiers and race fans across the country, this weekend also means that it is time to head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this year’s Indianapolis 500.

For just over one hundred years, the center of the auto racing world has been located in central Indiana. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the testing ground that has led to the development of many of the technologies that we see in today’s passenger vehicles.

This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the Speedway’s premier event: The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Over the last century, race fans from all walks of life have been treated to some of the most compelling stories ever seen in the sporting world. The winner of the 1911 race completed the 500 miles with an average speed of 75 miles per hour, while the racers attempting to make history this weekend will circle the 2.5 mile track at speeds well in excess of 200 miles per hour.

Like many Hoosiers, I look forward to the Race, one of our proudest traditions each and every year. We have come to know the names of Harroun, Foyt, Unser and Andretti in the time since Carl Fisher, Arthur Newby, Frank Wheeler and James Allison helped found the Speedway back in 1909.

Following World War II, Indiana businessman Tony Hulman purchased the track from then-owner, World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker. Since that time, the Speedway has been owned by the Hulman-George family. The stewardship of Mari Hulman and Tony George, along with entire the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Board of Directors has helped the 500 Mile Race become the world’s largest single day sporting event, and you can bet that the more than a quarter of a million seats at the Speedway will be packed with race fans this weekend from Indiana and beyond. So, this weekend my family and I will once again return to the Speedway to see history made at amazing speeds and I am eager to once again be Back Home Again in Indiana for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

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