When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway began repaving work recently, a cylindrical core sample was taken with some fascinating results. The brick, stone and asphalt sample of 108 years of resurfacing would make a nice trophy for an event at the Brickyard.
Speedway president Doug Boles posted a photo Oct. 27 during the second day of track work showing the different layers applied to the track since 1909.
When Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl G. Fisher first built the track in 1909, its surface was a combination of creek gravel, 2 inches of crushed limestone, taroid (liquid coal tar), crushed stone and larger stones which were supposed to provide a solid base.
Speedway’s inaugural race on Aug. 19, 1909 — a five-mile dash — was a disaster. The track broke up, causing the deaths of a driver, two mechanics and two spectators.
That led to the decision to pave the oval-shaped racing surface with brick, a move that engendered the name “Brickyard.” More than three million bricks were laid, including the final, supposedly silver, brick before a series of exhibition races Dec. 17-18, 1909.
With the exception of a 3-foot strip of bricks at the start/finish line, the track was completely paved over in 1961.
The track has been resurfaced on several occasions since the 1909 overhaul, but rightly retains the Brickyard name.