Pavement Choices - 1909

The article in the attachment IMSNews091109 was originally published in the September 11, 1909, Indianapolis Star. This article discusses the Speedway management's considerations for the best way to pave the oval with a durable running surface.
The Speedway had come under fire over safety concerns in the wake of the tragic first auto racing meet the previous month in August. The horrible accidents that resulted in five fatalities including two spectators were largely blamed on the rutted racing surface that deteriorated throughout the race meet.
The article presents the options of brick, "Bitulithic" (cement), and creosote wood block. A brick testing pad had been constructed on the front stretch. A test of the surface, described later in this analysis, was planned in the coming days.
Even as the paving project was going on, track officials stubbornly clung to the notion of hosting an air show in October. Contest Director Ernie Moross was chasing down the participation of the much acclaimed Glenn Curtiss, as well as other top aviators Lincoln Beachy and Roy Knabenshue.
The article in the attachment IMSbricktest091209 was originally published in the September 12, 1909, Indianapolis Star. The article discusses the various improvements the managers of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway were making to their facility. While the improvements included restaurants, new grandstands, new scoreboards, sand traps at the edges of the track to slow errant cars and the country's largest aerodrome the most important change would be a new running surface.
Interesting to note is that the Speedway considered three types of paving solutions: cement, brick, and, of all things, creosote wood block. The cement was called "bitu-mass" from the American Paving and Manufacturing Company. During this time the Speedway had been testing slabs of the track paved with the different materials. National Motor Vehicle Company star Johnny Aitken was pressed into service by Speedway co-founder and National executive Arthur Newby.
Aitken raced over the new slabs repeatedly to see how they would stand up under the stress of high speeds. Another test was to sink an iron post in concrete at the edge of the paved area and affix a rope to it on one end and Aitken's National on the other. Aitken then revved his engine and churned the wheels directly on the running surface to see if it would be torn apart. The car swayed from side to side burning rubber.
The observation team came to the conclusion that track surfaces could withstand the stress, even when wet. Among the observers were the Brick Manufacturer's Association from Cleveland, "other experts" from the East and contractors from California. One of the features of the new surfaces is that they were "dustless." The point here was that compared to the conventional dirt or crushed stone surfaces where tires kicked up great clouds of dust and dirt, the paving minimized the problem.
Speedway Founder and President Carl Fisher is noted as asserting that the track would be much faster than its original configuration. The article reports an estimated final cost for the course with improvements factored in as $700,000.

IMSNews091109.pdf624.13 KB
IMSbricktest091209.pdf656.06 KB