Before the Indianapolis Motor Speedway became the Brickyard, the famed racetrack’s surface was made of of a combination of creek gravel, limestone, taroid, and an array of various stones, and the resulting roadway crumbled like a stale cookie during the track’s inaugural auto race, in August 1909. When all was said and done, . By the end of the year, track owner Carl G. Fisher had the track repaved in bricks. And after a year of fatality-free racing, the track held its first ever 500-mile race.
Indy’s brick surface survived until 1961, at which point the track was repaved again, only this time in asphalt. It wouldn’t be the last time the track would be resurfaced, either; new asphalt has been poured onto the speedway on several occasions since.
Still, underneath each new layer sit the bricks that gave the track its famous nickname, and Doug Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has tweeted out an image of a recent core sample taken from the track—a standard part of track maintenance—that reveals the dynamic nature of the 2.5-mile oval over the course of its 108-year history.
And how it’s changed, with each layer revealing a different era of racing at Indy. Notably, the core sample is actually missing inches of historic asphalt, as 7.5 inches of blacktop were shaved away from the track during resurfacing projects in 1995 and 2004.
We’re not sure what the Indianapolis Motor Speedway plans to do with this big chunk of brick and asphalt, but we’d suggest gluing some handles to it and presenting it to the winner of the 2018 Indy 500.