As the Indianapolis Motor Speedway prepares to add another chapter to its history with the upcoming 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, the University Library Center for Digital Scholarship at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is continuing to preserve some of the historic items that have been a part of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Through a pilot project with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, University Library has scanned several museum artifacts in 3-D, creating a new database where race fans can view historic items from all angles with a click of a mouse.
Among the items scanned are helmets from legendary drivers Mario Andretti and Rick Mears, uniforms from Peter Revson and Bill Vukovich, vintage hood ornaments from cars, and a cross-section of a piece of the racing surface that shows its 108-year evolution from crushed stone to bricks to multiple layers of asphalt.
The Center has scanned and posted a searchable collection of thousands of images from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in recent years, and last year it launched a “500” Festival database with more than 8,000 items including programs, tickets, badges, photos of celebrities and more. There are also audio race summaries of every Indianapolis 500 through 2014, featuring Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network clips and commentary from IMS historian Donald Davidson.