11 May 2010

Looking Back on the 500

At the time, I did not fully realize what IMS meant to me (see here for more), but as I sorted through old college papers over the weekend, I came across a 20-page paper I wrote on the Indianapolis 500 my sophomore year at Boston College for a History of Sport class (I didn't even mind that it was a 9 a.m. Monday-Wednesday-Friday course).

My teacher was an old, East Coast salt, but he remembered the "glory days" of the 500 quite well, as he frequently referred to Indianapolis as "Indiana-no-place," which I suppose it may have been back before the Hoosier Dome and the downtown Renaissance of the 1980's.  In any case, he assigned each student to compose a 20-page paper on a subject of our choice.

Knowing I was heading home over Easter Break (we had 5 days off, courtesy of the Catholic school schedule), I proposed a paper that would incorporate a tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, several books on the subject (including an outstanding biography of Carl Fisher, "The Pacesetter," by Jerry Fisher), and an interview with noted Speedway historian Donald Davidson.

What followed was the longest paper of my college tenure (when you're a Broadcasting & Journalism major, your writing assignments aren't terribly long).  The pictures have been removed from the paper for the sake of brevity, but if you want a detailed assessment of the history and origins of some of the 500's traditions, feel free to take a look by clicking

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