From the start, it was envisioned
as part sporting event, part skunkworks: Indianapolis millionaire Carl
Fisher sought to build a proving ground for new cars and ideas, where
automotive reliability, speed and strength would be tested. A century
later, the Indianapolis 500 has been true to Fisher’s dream, and your
everyday ride—from the drivetrain to the road and rubber on which it
rolls—owes much to the race.
“It’s made American cars perform a lot better,” says Indy legend A.J.
Foyt. “We put it way over the line at Indianapolis, so if it works
there, it’ll work on the highway.”
“At Indy, we are the NASA of the production-car world, and that’s
clearly why manufacturers are involved—it’s such a good testbed,” says
Mario Andretti, the 1969 winner.
Famed Indy driver and car builder Dan Gurney offers a different analogy.
“Racing is like warfare,” he says. “It accelerates the evolution of
Here’s a look at some of the advances sparked by the battle in the Brickyard.