Article of the month – Indianapolis Motor Speedway, current Good article nominee.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana (an enclave suburb of Indianapolis) in theUnited States, is the home of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the Brickyard 400.
It has existed since 1909, and is the original Speedway, the first racing facility historically to incorporate the word. With a permanent seating capacity for more than 257,000 people and infield seating that raises capacity to approximately 400,000, it is the largest and highest-capacity sporting facility in the world.
Considered relatively flat by American standards but high-banked by Europeans, the track is a two-and-a-half-mile, nearly rectangular oval with dimensions that have remained essentially unchanged since its inception: four 1/4-mile turns, two 5/8-mile long straightaways between the fourth and first and second and third turns, and two 1/8-mile short straightaways, termed "short chutes," between the first and second, and third and fourth turns.
A modern infield road course was constructed between 1998 and 2000, incorporating the western and southern portions of the oval (including the southwest turn) to create a 2.605-mile (4.192 km) track. In 2008, the road course was modified to replace the southwest turn with an additional infield section, for motorcycle use, resulting in a 2.621-mile (4.218 km) course. Altogether, the current grounds have expanded from an original 320 acres (1.3 km2) on which the Speedway was first built to cover over an area of over 559. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, it currently remains the only such landmark to be affiliated with automotive racing history.
In addition to the Indianapolis 500, the speedway also hosts NASCAR's Brickyard 400. From 2000 to 2007 the speedway also hosted the United States Grand Prix for Formula One. The inaugural USGP race drew an estimated 225,000 spectators, setting a Formula One attendance record. In 2008, the Speedway added the Indianapolis motorcycle Grand Prix, a Grand Prix motorcycle racing event.
Since August 19, 1909, 248 automobile races have taken place, with 137 separate drivers winning. After winning his fifth United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis in 2006, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher holds the record for most victories between the three major events (Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and theF1 USGP), with all taking place on the Forumula One version of the road course. A. J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears each won the Indianapolis 500 four times on the traditional oval, and Jeff Gordon has also won four times on the oval in the Brickyard 400. No driver to date has won any combination of the three major events, with only one driver, (Juan Pablo Montoya), having competed in all three, winning the Indy 500, finishing fourth in the US Grand Prix, and placing second in the Brickyard 400. Johnny Aitken holds the record for total wins at the track, with 15 victories (all on the oval), during the 1909, 1910 and 1916 seasons.