Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Let's go to the first races!

This Day in History: August 19, 1909

This day in history is not to be confused with Rev Your Engines on May 30, 1911. That day marked the debut of the Indy 500--a grueling 500-mile race that was an immediate hit with audiences and drew press attention from all over the country. Two years prior to that date on August 19, 1909, the first five-mile race occurred as 12,000 spectators roared with excitement while watching 29-year old Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win the first race. There were a total of five contenders vying for first place in the five-mile sprint around the freshly oiled macadam track: Two Buicks, two Stoddard-Daytons, and a Velie.

Schwitzer, known as “Louie” to his friends, is pictured above, center.
His stripped-down four-cylinder Dayton-Stoddard touring car
won the first race in Indy with a speed of 57.4 miles per hour.
Schwitzer designed the car’s engine while serving as
chief engineer for Atlas Engine Works.

Click Image or HERE for Photo Gallery

From start to finish, five minutes and 13 seconds lapsed. Schwitzer became the first driver to cross the finish line on what would soon become the world’s most famous oval race track. The May 30, 1911 debut of the Indy 500 heralded driver Ray Haroun as the purse winner of $14,250, with an average speed of 74.59 mph and a total time of 6 hours and 42 minutes.

The very first Indy 500 in 1911. Ray Harroun wins the race.

A Bit of Race Car Trivia...

 Did you know that the first car race held on American soil took place in 1895?
The outstanding average speed was 7 MPH!

From then 'til now...

  Ryan Hunter-Reay held off second place Hélio Castroneves by a margin of 0.0600 seconds, the second-closest finish in race history behind only 1992. At an average speed of 186.563 mph (300.244 km/h), it was also the second-fastest 500 in history with a time of 2:40:48.2305. At the halfway point, Hunter-Reay leader set a new record with an average speed of 211.871 mph. Purse winnings totaled $2,491,194.

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