December 14, 1909 – The last brick of the Indy Brickyard is laid

Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana opened up to vehicle races in 1909, the first being a motorcycle race that took place on August 13. The original surface of the 2.5 mile track was made of a mixture of gravel, limestone, tar and oil, which took months to put in place, was so rough that all of the motorcycle’s tires popped on the first day of racing. The track had to be sanded down before events could continue, but even after that, there was much flying debris as would fly off the track and one historian said “Driving at Indy was like flying through a meteor shower.” The track claimed its first lives on the first day of automobile racing in 1909 when driver Wilford Bacuque and his mechanic were killed due to an accident attributed to the rough terrain. Three bystanders were killed in the days following after a vehicle flew into the grandstands. After receiving pressure to make the track safer, course founder Carl Fisher decided to pave the track with bricks. It was on this day in 1909 that the last brick at the Indy Brickyard was laid. The bricks remained for more than 50 years, before being paved over with asphalt. One brick remains today, at the start/finish line. Pics:The Indianapolis Motor Speedway under constructionCarl Graham Fisher (1874–1938) of Indiana, an American vehicle parts and highway entrepreneur, co-founder and first president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. May 1909.

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