On the Olympics & Vitrified Surfaces

The article in attachment IMSplans102409 was originally published on October 24, 1909 in the Indianapolis Star. Almost unfathomable, but Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials still harbored ambitions of holding a race meet on the new Brickyard on November 1.
The idea of organizing an auto race meet of any significance in the matter of barely more than a week has to raise the question of where track management expected to find cars and drivers. Given that Indianapolis had a burgeoning automobile industry it may be that Carl Fisher and his team were keeping an ongoing dialogue with the leaders of those businesses. The article states that "many manufacturers have signified a willingness to attend the meet." Note that the Warner Instrument Company had been engaged to bring their latest timing device.
A new word had entered the vocabulary of newspaper reporters, "vitrified." This term was frequently employed to describe the new, relatively smooth, hard brick surface of the track that had already earned the nickname, "Brickyard." The promise was speed and safety. The safety promise came through the belief that the paved surface would not wear as the crushed stone-covered ground did to produce treacherous ruts that could twist wheels. Interestingly, the article mentions a record run for the distance of 500 miles.
The article reports that the speed record trials would conclude the 1909 season and that plans for 1910 were underway. The plan was for six events for auto racing including the races for the best known trophies: the Wheeler-Schebler, the Prest-O-Lite, the G&J and the Remy Grand Brassard. Overland again agreed to put up a gold plated automobile as the prize for fastest mile. Motorcycle events were promised as well, but no details are provided.
In addition to auto race meets the article reports that the Speedway was promising three "aerial carnivals." The events would be for balloons, dirigibles and airplanes. These machines and their pilots were to compete for trophies and awards totaling $100,000 in value.
The Speedway was seen as a magnetic force drawing national and even global attention to Indianapolis. The track seemed a natural attraction for those organizing auto endurance runs or tours - the best known example being the Glidden Tour. The big ambition was to use the Speedway as a platform for the Olympic Games. Speedway President Carl Fisher always thought big.
The article is somewhat contradictory indicating at times that the bricklaying was complete but in the end saying, "all the improvments excepting the final finish of the vitrified surface to the track have been made. The bricks are being placed at the rate of 120,000 per day, so that the end of this work is now in sight."
A point of construction that is interesting is that the cement curbing was placed around the entire edge of the track. This curbing, the article reports, extended 18 inches below the ground to prevent frost from effecting the surface. Exactly how that worked is a question for civil engineers. The article also describes a "tapering cushion" for cars to run in the event that the driver lost control. From early images I have seen of the track I believe this to be an abrupt banking at the very outer edge of the track done with the intent of slowing cars down. In reality it tended to launch them and was eventually removed.

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