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Special Feature 1: The Motorsports Museum

Indianapolis Museum Tour

The Motor Speedway started in 1909 and featured its first race in 1911. They struggled in the beginning as the track was dirt and no one could see. So the promoters bought over three million bricks and built the surface. Hence the name, 'The Brickyard.'  All that is left of the original bricks is a three foot strip at the start finish line. But what a track, and what history.

First, a clarification: This is the Motorsports Hall of Fame. I got confused when I saw cars like this one, which never raced Indy. But the name tells the story.

This 1903 Premier Special features a 932 cubic inch, air cooled four cylinder engine. It exceeded the weight limitations of 2,200 pounds by 300 pounds, so they drilled 470 holes in it. It still weighed 120 too much. It raced on the one mile course at Indiana State fairgrounds, achieving a speed of 59 miles per hour.

This 1912 Fiat scored second place in the second annual race, with a speed of 76 miles per hour. The car led most of the race, but failed with three laps to go. By the time they got it going, it finished in second. Racing in those days was a contest of attrition.

In 1909, Cannonball Baker took this Indian to victory lane in the race the track held. It had no brakes, no front fender, and a double chain drive. Cannonball became famous for the Cannonball Runs, cross country long distance races.

How about this? Paris Marseilles road race, 1896. This three wheeled racer won the competition by going 62.1 miles in one hour and fifty-eight minutes. You figure out his speed.

This Stoddard-Payton car operated as pace car for the 1911, 1913 and 1914 races. They ran the pace car from the pole position those days.

In a leap across time, this 1966 Ford Mark II-B won the 1966 International Challenge Cup for Sports Prototypes by placing well in the 24 Hours of LeMans, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Daytona Continental, and the 1,000 kilometers at Spa. A very good winning debut for this car.
Tomorrow, a unique Corvette, Danika Patrick's rookie car, and a NASCAR auto that opened Indy to other forms of racing. See you then.

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