2011 44¢ Indianapolis 500
Issue Date: May 20, 2011
City: Indianapolis, Indiana
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America, Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Offset
For 100 years, fans have thronged to Indianapolis for the thrill of watching “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Dubbed the Indy 500, the annual Memorial Day event attracts some of the biggest names in auto racing along with about 400,000 enthusiasts from around the world.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex held its first 200-lap, 500-mile race on May 30, 1911. Ray Harroun piloted his Marmon “Wasp” race car around the brick-lined track at an average speed of just over 74 miles per hour. Several people accused Harroun of recklessness, as he was the only driver in the race without a spotter riding alongside to alert him to oncoming traffic, and his Wasp featured a new-fangled contraption known as a “rear-view mirror.”
The Indy 500 is limited to vehicles featuring open wheels known as Formula One cars. Foreign drivers gradually made the Indianapolis Speedway their primary base and the race gained international fame. Advances in technology added excitement, with speeds now exceeding 225 miles per hour.
Many Indy 500 traditions have developed over the years, including patriotic songs, pork tenderloin sandwiches, and a superstition against eating peanuts. Perhaps the most famous is the Indy’s call to action – “Gentlemen, start your engines!”