“What, you mean you DON’T race drunk on champagne in cars on fire anymore?”
The Indianapolis 500, a Triple Crown of Motorsport race, stands as one of America’s oldest and most prestigious opportunities for people to drive cars really fast in a circle for a few hours. As dangerous as braving breakneck speeds for the chance at a large payday can be for drivers, when the race was first run in 1911, early car technology made it an even crazier proposition. Automobiles were relatively new in the early 20th century, and things like “seatbelts” or “anything to give off the semblance of safety” were laughably foreign concepts.
For the first two years of its existence, the Indianapolis 500 was only driven by Americans, and won by Americans, which we here at American Fun Fact of the Day generally approve of.
But we’re here to talk about the 1913 Indy 500, because even though it was won by a French person (booo) it featured fires, booze, and broken limbs, which pretty much describes our typical Staff holiday party. So strap in (because the drivers of this race couldn’t) and open a bottle of champagne (which the drivers of this race could) and get ready to take in some American history.