Safety Updates to the Brickyard - 1910

This image first appeared in the day before Valentine's Day 1910 - February 13 - in the Indianapolis Star. Memories of the tragic first auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway were still fresh in the minds of track management. In addition to paving the running surface with 3.2 million bricks, President Carl Fisher and his team introduced cement walls and sand traps to slow and stop errant cars.
From looking at this photo I believe it was taken from the north end of the facility looking toward the south end of the track. It looks from the infield perspective and you can note two sand traps separated by a cement barrier. Errant cars would need to plow through the sand, burst through the cement and then plow yet more sand before reaching the final wooden barrier framing the lowest area of the grandstand. Considering the cars could barely touch 100 mph at top speed it was a pretty safe bet that none of them would get to the spectators.
What I believe is the "sand trap" lines the outside of track along with uncovered and then further down covered grandstands. Note the flags at the top of stands - very cool.
The caption that originally ran with this photo reads as follows:
"Guarantees of safety at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been provided. In the first place, the row of private boxes that stood to the south of the main grandstand directly against the sides of the track, have been removed. In their place has been erected a long series of bleachers that adds to the seating capacity, comfort and safety. The private boxes, with several new ones, have been removed to the north of the main grandstand. They are separated from the track by a wide strip of deep sand. This forms a cushion that would bury any race car that might, through some accident, leave the track. But before this car reaches the cushion it must plow through another smaller one that lies directly at the edge of the course. Then if it ever gets through this first cushion there is a strong cement wall to stop its progress so that the chance of danger to the occupants in the private boxes are reduced to nothing. There is not much possibility of accidents this year, however, as the paved course guarantees safety. E.A. Moross, director of contests, is preparing a handsome booklet, 'Indianapolis is in the Limelight,' which will be illustrated. More than 50,000 copies will be printed and distributed over the land."

TrackSafety.jpg2.23 MB