IRL: IMS oval surface improvements timeline

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval Surface Improvements Timeline INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 31, 2004 -- A timeline of the original construction and surface improvements to the 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Summer 1909:...

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval Surface Improvements Timeline

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 31, 2004 -- A timeline of the original construction and surface improvements to the 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Summer 1909: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval was graded, and a surface of crushed rock -- smoothed and compacted using rollers and then sprayed with tar -- was laid. Several railroad tank cars full of tar were delayed en route, and the process of spraying tar on the track was not completed until early August.

Fall 1909: Several serious accidents in the first weekend of racing convinced Speedway management that the tar-and-crushed rock surface was too dangerous, so the decision was made to resurface the track with paving bricks. Approximately 3.2-million bricks, weighing 9.5 pounds each, were used to complete the job in 63 days from late September through early December. That is an average of 51,000 bricks laid per day. To pave the track with bricks, crews placed a layer of sand on top of the original surface, then set each brick in the bed of sand with about one-quarter inch separation on each side, then poured mortar around the bricks.

Spring 1936: The track received asphalt paving for the first time, when rough portions of the turns were smoothed with asphalt patches.

1937: The four turns were resurfaced with asphalt.

1938: More asphalt was laid, leaving brick exposed only in the middle portions of each straightaway.

1939: The entire track, except for the main straightaway, was resurfaced with asphalt.

1956: All four turns were resurfaced with asphalt.

October 1961: After A.J. Foyt's first Indianapolis 500 victory, the main straightaway was paved with asphalt. The now-famous "Yard of Bricks," a 36-inch strip of original bricks at the start-finish line, was kept in place to pay tribute to the Speedway's famous surface.

1964: The back straightaway and Turn 3 were resurfaced.

July 1969: Track was resurfaced, except areas paved in 1961 and 1964.

Summer 1976: The entire track was repaved, marking the first time a complete repaving took place since the bricks were laid in 1909.

Summer 1988: The entire track was repaved.

Spring 1993: Asphalt warm-up lanes installed in four turns and two short straightaways between Turns 1 and 2 and Turns 3 and 4.

Spring 1994: Pit lane renovated, widened.

Fall 1995: The entire track, except the new pit lane and warm-up lanes, was repaved with a specially designed racetrack asphalt mix featuring very small rocks. The top 5 inches of the track were milled and replaced with the new asphalt.

March 2002: The oval surface was made smoother with a process called "diamond grinding," which eliminates minor bumps in the asphalt. This marks the first time that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's surface was ground so the surface would meet the requirements of high-speed racing.

-ims-

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About this article
Series History , IndyCar , NASCAR
Drivers A.J. Foyt