Fast Facts: What Makes Kissing The Bricks So Special?

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is unquestionably the most famous and historically significant race track in the world. It’s also one of the oldest, having opened in 1909.

Here are some facts and trivia that you may not know about the fabled Brickyard from the IMS website:

• The first event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a helium gas-filled balloon competition on Saturday, June 5, 1909, more than two months before the oval was completed.

• Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Colosseum and Vatican City all can fit inside the IMS oval, which covers 253 acres.

• The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the world’s largest spectator sporting facility, with more than 250,000 permanent seats. If the seat boards from the grandstands at IMS were laid end-to-end, they would stretch 99.5 miles.

In 1909, the year the Brickyard opened, there was lots going on:

• William Howard Taft succeeded Theodore Roosevelt as President of the United States in March.

• The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded.

• Alice Huyler Ramsey, a 22-year-old housewife from Hackensack, N.J., became the first woman to drive across the United States. The 3,800-mile trip, from New York to San Francisco, took 59 days.

• Construction began on the RMS Titanic.

• The world population: 1.7 billion (6.8 billion in 2009)

• U.S. population: 90 million (306 million in 2009)

• Indianapolis population: 233,650 (795,458 in 2007)

• Median age of U.S. population: 24.1 (36.8 in 2009)

• Price of a new car (average): $1,280

• Price of a new home (average): $2,650

• NCAA football champion: Yale

• Heavyweight boxing world champion: Jack Johnson, United States

• AAA auto racing national champion: George Robertson