Speedway As A Business

This article originally appeared in the July 24, 1909 Indianapolis Star and is somewhat rare in that it attempts to provide some analysis of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a business. Back in these days one million dollars was almost unfathomable money. The article suggests that when everything was done the collective investment of those involved with the August opening of the Speedway for motor racing would exceed that figure.
The paper lays out the following costs and the business group responsible.

  • $390,000 for construction of the track.
  • $25,000 to promote the events.
  • $25,000 for trophies and prizes.
  • Race team costs: crew salary $30 (three men including driver @ $10 per day); fuel/parts/tires/etc. $5,000, team per diem total over 10 days = $1,000
  • $3,000 estimate per car cost of each of estimated 100 cars (considered conservative).

The above costs seem to only factor in the machines and crews of the automobile races, not the motorcylce race meet that preceeded the cars by one week.
Speedway Director of Contests Ernie Moross was preparing for an East Coast trip - presumably to visit the American Automobile Association (AAA) to finalize officiating personnel. The legendary starter Fred Wagner's participation seemed a certainty. The Speedway was also courting United States President Howard Taft to make an appearance.

IMS072409.pdf3.73 MB