In this photo taken by automobile pioneer Henry Ford, drivers line up with their cars before the start of the inaugural Indy 500.
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As they prepare at the starting line of the first Indy 500, smoke from oil-burning engines fills the air.
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Cars approach the finish line at the first Indy 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the race is held each year, opened in 1909.
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Driving his No. 32 Marmon Wasp, Ray Harroun won the inaugural Indy 500. He blew a tire midway through the race but recovered to win the $10,000 prize.
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Harroun retired after winning the first Indy 500.
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The star of the German Mercedes racing team traveled to America for the first time to race in the 11th Indy 500. Lautenschlager finished 23rd after crashing early in the race. Tommy Milton took the title.
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The driver watches as his car is towed at Indianapolis Speedway. He finished 28th after crashing on Turn 1 of his 122nd lap.
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The man who started the tradition of drinking milk in victory lane got to celebrate his third Indy 500 victory in 1936. He previously won in 1928 and 1933.
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The Indy 500 winner in 1937 and 1939 is shown here after qualifying second for the 1940 race. The Shelbyville, Ind., native went on to win his third title that year.
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The driver is shown at Indianapolis Speedway, where he would finish 17th in the Indy 500 after being forced out with a fuel leak on 139th lap. Chitwood raced the Indy 500 seven times, and he was the first driver to wear a safety belt at the event.
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Members of the pit crews go to work during the race. Mauri Rose won his second straight Indy 500 after leading 81 of the 200 laps.
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The crowd looks on at the beginning of the Indy 500. Johnnie Parsons took the title in 1950.
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The crowd watches what some consider to be the best Indy 500 ever. Eventual winner Jim Rathmann and defending champion Rodger Ward swapped the lead 14 times during the second half of the race, but Ward was ultimately forced to slow with three laps remaining because of a worn tire.
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After finishing as the runner-up three times, Rathmann (posing here with his wife) finally broke through for the victory.
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Foyt races down the stretch at more than 170 miles per hour as he takes the first of his four Indy 500 titles. He caught Eddie Sachs with three laps to go and beat him across the line by 8.5 seconds.
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Drivers Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald were killed in this crash on the second lap of the Indy 500. Here, a burning tire flies toward spectators near Turn 4 as a gas tank explodes.
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The defending champion escapes a flaming car in the pits during the 1964 Indy 500. He had led seven of the 55 laps he completed before the fire forced him out of the race.
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Defending Indy 500 champion A.J. Foyt sits in his No. 1 Lotus before the race. He qualified for the pole position, but finished 15th. Jim Clark became the first foreign driver to win the race in 49 years.
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The driver rests in his car after qualifying for the pole position at the Indy 500. He would finish 18th that year in his second Indy 500 start, but he won the race in 1969.
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Tires fly off as cars collide in a pileup near the start of the Indy 500. More than half of the 33 cars in the field were damaged and forced out of the race. All drivers escaped serious injury.
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