IRL: Smithsonian celebrates Indy 500

The Smithsonian Institution, our nation's conservator of culture, generally caters to lovers of art and nature rather than fans of the wild world of motorsports. But on Tuesday, March 7, the Resident Associates program will celebrate the raucous...

The Smithsonian Institution, our nation's conservator of culture, generally caters to lovers of art and nature rather than fans of the wild world of motorsports. But on Tuesday, March 7, the Resident Associates program will celebrate the raucous din of auto racing with "IndyCar Racing: Celebrate the Spectacle" at 7 p.m. at the U.S. Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center.

Cacophonous to some, melodious to others, automobile racing started soon after the invention of the horseless carriage. When Carl Fisher built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909, he did so to provide early American car manufacturers, most of which were based near Indianapolis, a place to test and develop their products.

To further promote the reliability of the early automobile a 500-mile race was established in 1911. The 90th running of that race, the Indianapolis 500, will take place May 28.

The Smithsonian celebrates this annual Memorial Day weekend tradition, which has grown to become the world's largest single-day sporting event, by inviting the 2005 Indy 500 winner, Dan Wheldon; the 2001 and 2002 winner, Helio Castroneves; and Johnny Rutherford, who won in 1974, 1976 and 1980, for an evening of video presentations and discussion.

Joining the Indy 500 winners will be Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in the Indy 500, and Michael and Marco Andretti, the father-and-son team that will compete against each other in this year's race.

The U.S. Navy Memorial & Naval Heritage Center is located at 701 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W., Suite 123, in Washington.

For more information please call (202) 252-0012.


Note: Venue changed from earlier announcements

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