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The Borg-Warner Trophy, named for United States automotive supplier BorgWarner, is symbolic of victory in the Indianapolis 500 automobile race. It is permanently housed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum in Speedway, Indiana.
The trophy, which has been presented in the winner's circle after every race since 1936, is a very large, multi-tiered item which bears the bas-relief sculpture of the likeness of each driver to have won the race since its inception in 1911. It also has the driver's name, date of victory, and average speed. This information is alternated with the faces in a checkerboard pattern. Included on the base is the gold likeness of Tony Hulman, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 1945-1977. On the top of the trophy is a man waving a checkered flag. Because this man is depicted naked, after the tradition of ancient Greek athletes, the trophy is most often photographed so that the man's arm is swooping down in front of him.
In 1935, the Borg-Warner Automotive Company commissioned designer Robert J. Hill and Gorham, Inc., of Providence, Rhode Island to create the trophy at a cost of $10,000 (the trophy was refurbished in 1991 and again in 2004). Today it is insured in excess of $1.3 million). Unveiled at a 1936 dinner hosted by then-Speedway owner Eddie Rickenbacker, the trophy was officially declared the annual prize for Indianapolis 500 victors. Louis Meyer, that year's champion and its first recipient, soon thereafter remarked, "Winning the Borg-Warner Trophy is like winning an Olympic medal."
Made of sterling silver, the trophy is just under 5 feet (1.5 m), 4 inches (162.5 cm) tall and weighs nearly 153 pounds (45 kg). The trophy body itself is hollow, and the round top is removable. From 1936 to 1985, the trophy appeared in its original form, with the bottom rim of the body serving as its stand. The original body had room for 70 winners of the Indy 500, and was destined to fill up after the 1986 winner was affixed. During the early years, the trophy was polished often for protection, but appeared to seldom be buffed to a "mirror finish" and often was seen with a dull finish. At no point has the trophy been allowed to fall in a state of tarnish.
Speedway officials decided to add a base to the trophy in the spring of 1986. Instead of retiring the trophy, they added the base to accommodate new winners' faces, similar to what has been done with the Stanley Cup. The base included a special gold face of Tony Hulman. Bobby Rahal was the final winner to be added to the original trophy body. The 1987 winner Al Unser, Sr. was the first to be added to the base. The base was expected to fill up after the 2003 race.
In 1991, the trophy went through a thorough restoration. In 2004, the base was removed, and replaced with a new, larger base to accommodate more winners. Enough space is available to hold all winners through until 2034.
The actual trophy is not given to the winner; it remains at the Hall of Fame Museum on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The winning drivers since 1988 (except 2011 because of extenuating circumstances) have been presented with an 18-inch (460 mm) tall free-standing replica of the trophy, nicknamed the "Baby Borg." It is typically presented in January at a Speedway event or the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, near trophy sponsor BorgWarner's headquarters. In 1997, the Speedway added a "Baby Borg" for the winning owner(s).
Prior to 1988, winners received an 24-inch (610 mm) upright model of the trophy mounted on a walnut plaque.
Since 1990 the winning drivers' portrait images on both the Borg-Warner Trophy and the replica trophies have been sculpted by prominent American sculptor William Behrends, who also created the statue of baseball great Willie Mays that stands at the entrance to AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.
During the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which in recent years has been the location of the "Baby Borg" presentation, 1963 winner Parnelli Jones had the honour of presenting the trophy to Dario Franchitti for the 2012 race. Jones was presented with a "Baby Borg" himself in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his win. 
The trophy has had quite a history; track historian Donald Davidson has noted a particular story where a Butler University student was given the trophy to watch in the 1930s before race day. The young man hid the trophy under his bed one night and proceeded to have a night out. Upon his return to his fraternity house, the man found the trophy missing. He looked and looked and became very worried about the trophy's whereabouts. Upon looking in the frat house's basement, he found the trophy surrounded by men who were drinking beer out of it. All of 115 beers were inside of the trophy. Emptying the beer, he wondered how he would get the smell off of the trophy and decided to take a shower - taking the trophy in with him.
The trophy has appeared in several films, including Winning starring Paul Newman. During the month of May, the trophy has several prominent locations for display. During time trials, the trophy is typically displayed outdoors on a platform near the start/finish line. During down times, it returns to the museum. It also makes several appearances, including the Public Drivers' Meeting, the 500 Festival Parade, as well as prominent socials events and gatherings (such as banquets and balls downtown).
The winner of the 1950 Indianapolis 500, Johnnie Parsons, had his name misspelled on the trophy. It was scripted into the silver as "Johnny" Parsons (which incidentally, is how his son's name was spelled). During the 1991 restoration, it was proposed by the handlers to correct the spelling, though Parsons had already died seven years earlier. The decision was made to leave the misspelling in place, as part of the trophy's historic lore.
Through 1985, the trophy was hoisted by handlers directly behind the driver, typically on the roll bar of the car. The trophy could be easily carried by one individual, and was usually simple to transport. After the trophy was affixed with a base in 1986, the trophy's weight, height, and stability became an issue with displaying it on top of the car. At least two men were required to balance the trophy behind the driver. Since about 2004, when the trophy was expanded with the newer base, it is no longer hoisted behind the driver. The heavier trophy was displayed next to the car, in a prominent position in victory lane. For 2012, coinciding with the introduction of the DW-12 chassis, a special platform has been constructed that fits between the rear wheels and rear wing of the cars, to place the trophy upon for display during the victory lane celebration.
Two or more safety patrol workers are assigned with guarding and transporting the trophy during the month of May. It is polished often, and polished several times during the month of May. In contrast to the earlier years, the trophy is almost exclusively polished and buffed to an elegant "mirror finish."
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- 1963 Champ Parnelli Jones gets honorary Indy 500 trophy, Detroit Free Press, January 17, 2013