One Hundred Years of the Indy 500

A century ago, the first Indianapolis 500 race started in high excitement and ended in a muddle

The winner of the 1911 Indianapolis 500 averaged about 75 mph, less than half the winning speed in today's race. (William Manning / Corbis)
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Adapted from Blood and Smoke: A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem and the Birth of the Indy 500, by Charles Leerhsen. Copyright © 2011 by Charles Leerhsen. Reprinted by permission from Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

Charles Leerhsen’s previous book was Crazy Good, a portrait of the harness-racing champion horse Dan Patch.


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