Cement, Not Brick?

First I should note the quality of this article is pretty darn poor. Ok, it's crappy. I've found that's what you get sometimes when dealing with microfilm of 100+ year old newspapers.
This piece ran in the Indianapolis News on August 28, 1909 shortly after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway staged its first-ever race meeting. The weekend was pretty much a disaster. While some exciting racing was presented and records were broken it came at the cost of five lives - three competitors and two spectators - James West and Homer Joliff - both of whom perished on the final day. The three competitors who lost their lives were driver William Bourque and riding mechanics Harry Holcomb and Claude Kellum.
In the wake of this disaster the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was under fire from several corners - Indiana state government, the American Automobile Association (AAA) and public opinion. It was clear the massive investment of the founders was in jeopardy unless steps were taken to make the racing safer. The big issue was the running surface of dirt, gravel and tar. The constant pounding of the massive cars produced suspension-wrenching ruts that broke wheels, axles and punctured tires. The example of Brooklands in England begged for a more advanced racing surface.
While the Speedway founders eventually settled on creating the Brickyard, just days after the tragic races they appeared to be leaning toward something like concrete. Referred to as "bitu-mineral" which was probably going to be essentially concrete - a disastrous choice for the frequently brutal freeze and thaw Hoosier winters. Speedway Director of Contests Ernie Moross was dispatched to Paris, Kentucky to assess the product of a company that produced the material. The Speedway teamed considered purchasing the company for $5,000 and moving it to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grounds to generate the material as needed. Fortunately this path was not chosen and the Brickyard was born.

IMSNews082709.pdf1.34 MB