IMS announces extensive plans for Centennial Era
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will celebrate 100 years of worldwide leadership in motorsports entertainment through its Centennial Era from 2009-2011, which will feature many special events, a new, retro corporate logo and redevelopment of the area surrounding the Racing Capital of the World.
Plans for the Centennial Era celebration were revealed by IMS Chief Executive Officer Tony George and IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood during an event May 22 at Allison Mansion of Marian College in Indianapolis.
IMS is honoring the 100th anniversaries of the opening of the venerable racetrack, in 1909, and of the inaugural Indianapolis 500, in 1911, through the Centennial Era celebration.
Indiana businessmen Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Arthur C. Newby and Frank H. Wheeler pooled their resources to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 as an automobile testing ground to support Indiana's growing automotive industry. The focus of the facility soon turned to racing, with Ray Harroun winning the inaugural Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911.
"No other motorsports facility in the world has the rich history and tradition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George. "The Centennial Era celebration will pay homage to the heroes and events of our storied past while anticipating an even more glorious future."
There are many intertwined components to the Centennial Era celebration:
- Centennial Era Logo. A new Centennial Era logo will be used at IMS from 2009-2011. The logo, designed by IMS Creative Services, draws elements from 1909, 1934 and 1961 in a historic motif.
- Centennial Gala. A Centennial Gala will take place in late February 2009 in downtown Indianapolis, with dinner and live entertainment. Proceeds of the formal Gala will benefit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, which operates the Hall of Fame Museum.
- Balloon Festival. A balloon festival will take place on the first weekend of May 2009 at IMS. The two-day event will commemorate the first competitive event ever at the Speedway, a gas-filled balloon race June 5, 1909.
- Concours d'Elegance. A Concours d'Elegance, which is a competition between vehicle owners to be judged on the appearance of their machinery, will take place in summer 2010 at IMS. The event will celebrate the significance of vehicular transportation and competition to Indianapolis and feature a vehicle auction, vintage racing competition and a black-tie gala.
- New Interstate Interchange. A completely redesigned highway interchange at Interstate 465, Interstate 74 and Crawfordsville Road will create a new front door to the Town of Speedway, in which the entire IMS facility is located, and enhance traffic flow to and from IMS.
- Town of Speedway Redevelopment. A large redevelopment project in the Town of Speedway will transform 400 acres south and west of IMS into a vibrant, thriving and attractive downtown that fosters growth within the existing business community and encourages the development of new businesses, particularly in the motorsports industry. Redevelopment will make the area surrounding IMS a year-round destination for race fans. Highlights include a retail/commercial corridor along Main Street, improved traffic flow by extending Crawfordsville Road to meet 16th Street south of IMS, and improving pedestrian safety and accessibility around IMS, including creating a linear park just west of IMS on what is now Georgetown Road.
"The Centennial Era celebration is the most multi-faceted evidence ever of our commitment to worldwide leadership in motorsports entertainment," IMS CEO Tony George said. "It creates a clear, focused vision for our future while honoring the competitors and fans who have made the Speedway the landmark destination for speed over the past 100 years."
More details about the components of the Centennial Era will be released in the future.