The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an automobile racing circuit located in Speedway, Indiana, in the United States. It is the home of the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 and it is located on the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road, approximately six miles west of Downtown Indianapolis. Constructed in 1909, it is the original speedway, the first racing facility so named and it has a permanent seating capacity estimated at 235,000 with infield seating raising capacity to an approximate 400,000. It is the highest-capacity sports venue in the world, considered relatively flat by American standards, the track is a 2. 5-mile-long rectangular oval with dimensions that have remained essentially unchanged since its construction. A modern infield road course was completed in 2000, incorporating part of the oval, including the mainstretch, in 2008, and again in 2014, the road course layout was modified to accommodate motorcycle racing, as well as to improve competition. Altogether, the current grounds have expanded from an original 320 acres on which the speedway was first built to cover an area of over 559 acres. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, in addition to the Indianapolis 500, the speedway also hosts NASCARs Brickyard 400 and Lilly Diabetes 250. From 2000 to 2007, the hosted the Formula One United States Grand Prix. On the grounds of the speedway is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which opened in 1956, the museum moved into its current building located in the infield in 1976. Also on the grounds is the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort, which opened as the Speedway Golf Course in 1929. The golf course has 14 holes outside of the track, along the backstretch, the speedway also served as the venue for the opening ceremonies for the 1987 Pan American Games. Fisher began thinking of a means of testing cars before delivering them to consumers. At the time, racing was just getting started on horse tracks, Fisher noticed how dangerous and ill-suited the makeshift courses were for racing and testing. He also argued that spectators did not get their moneys worth, Fisher proposed building a circular track 3 to 5 miles long with smooth 100–150-foot-wide surfaces. Such a track would give manufacturers a chance to test cars at sustained speeds, Fisher predicted speeds could reach up to 120 mph on a 5-mile course. He visited the Brooklands circuit outside London in 1907, and after viewing the banked layout, in December 1908, he convinced James A. Allison, Arthur Newby, and Frank W. Wheeler to join him in purchasing the property for $72,000. Construction of the started in March 1909. Fisher had to downsize his planned 3-mile oval with a 2-mile road course to a 2. 5-mile oval to leave room for the grandstands
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway under construction
Carl 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.
Artist's rendition of the original speedway plan (not an actual picture)