During the early days, nearly all cars had two seats that included a driver and an onboard “riding mechanic”. After World War II, teams abandoned two-man cars to cut down on weight and improve aerodynamics.
The winner of the inaugural race in 1911 drove one of the first cars with a rearview mirror.
The American Dairy Association asks drivers ahead of time whether they would like whole, two percent or skim milk in the event that they win the race.
The “Brickyard” gets its name from the 1909 surfacing project when 3.2 million street paving bricks were laid.
The winner is awarded the sterling silver Borg-Warner Trophy, commissioned in 1935 at a cost of $10,000. The trophy today is valued at more than $1 million.
Originally the Indianapolis 500 was called the “International Sweepstakes”.
In 1972, Jim Nabors was a guest at the race. Right before the opening ceremonies he was asked to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana”. He had no rehearsal and wrote the lyrics on his hand. He performed the song 45 times over 42 years.
Fourteen drivers have been killed as the result of accidents during the race.
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