IMS Turn One - 1910

This amazing image originally appeared in the May 22, 1910, Indianapolis Star as part of the build-up to the May 1910 race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This was the Sunday edition of the paper just five days prior to the beginning of the meet and as such was packed with articles concerning the event in anticipation of subscribers spending more time with the paper over coffee on their day of rest. I lifted this image from the first page of a section devoted to previewing the May 1910 "national championships," a newly-announced distinction by the American Automobile Association (AAA) for select race meets.
The photo is a rare glimpse of one of the extensive infrastructure changes from the days of visionary leadership at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the wake of the tragic inaugural auto races that resulted in five fatalities at the track in  August 1909, the team introduced numerous changes to the facility. Overshadowed by the mind-bogglingly massive brick-paving project that earned the venerable track the nickname "Brickyard" in the autumn of that year was the introduction of retaining walls. These concrete barriers were limited to the turns but it was an important start. Not unlike the introduction of the life-saving SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) system a century later these walls were an important safety feature. They helped protect spectators as well as preventing, in the event of an accident, the greater danger to drivers of having their cars plummet down the embankment at the edge of the running surface.
This image is particularly useful in providing a very rare visual of the buttresses that reinforced the walls. This was an important engineering design feature as the impact of the rigid frame, 2,500-pound behemoths clobbering the structure at speeds approaching 100 MPH no doubt carried with them tremendous force. I believe this is a look at the entrance to turn one and the shot could have been taken from the top of the grandstands near there. The structure in the background could be a poor farm referenced elsewhere on First Super Speedway.  That structure would be facing the golf course today.

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