The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of, if not the, oldest surviving race circuit in the world, having held its first race back in 1909.
The circuit was originally constructed of a mix of crushed stone and tar, but a series of serious accidents led to the decision to lay a new surface. 3.2 millions bricks were used to create the new circuit, giving Indianapolis its nickname of the Brickyard in the process. A single yard of bricks is still exposed on the start/finish straight.
Indianapolis plays host to one of the biggest and most prestigious races in the world every May with the annual Indy 500, which has been won in the past by such illustrious names as Graham Hill, Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt and Jacques Villeneuve. The race itself is part of motorsport's 'triple crown' alongside the Monaco Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Hill is currently the only driver in history to have won all three races during his career.
The Indy 500 was part of the Formula 1 World Championship during its early years, and F1 returned to the circuit – and to American soil – in 2000 on a special road course built on the infield.
In the eight F1 races held at the venue between 2000 and 2007, Michael Schumacher won on five occasions, with victories also going to Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello and Lewis Hamilton.
The fact F1 even continued to race at the circuit until 2007 came as a surprise following the farcical events of the 2005 Grand Prix, when all the Michelin teams withdrew at the end of the green flag lap on safety grounds following a number of tyre failures during practice. It led to a race of just six cars, with the Bridgestone-shod Ferraris, Jordans and Minardis the only ones to race. Indianapolis eventually lost its slot on the F1 calendar for the 2008 season, although it could return in the future.
NASCAR also holds an event at the venue, with the highly popular Brickyard 400 having been part of the schedule since 1994, while MotoGP visited for the first time in 2008, running on the same layout as F1 but in reverse.
However, the weather played havoc with proceedings and forced the race to be ended early.