The Indianapolis Speedway was the first track built in the United States especially for auto racing. The businessmen who put up the money for the track intended it to be more of a testing ground to help improve American made cars, especially cars built in Indiana.
The Indianapolis Speedway was built in 1909, and at that time was 500 miles of racetrack built with 3.2 million bricks!
In 1911, the first race was held and called "International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race" and quickly became an overnight tradition, drawing more than 90,000 spectators. A driver named Ray Harroun, won the race. He is also the man who invented the rear view mirror! Fortunately, he was driving a car called a Marmon, which is made in Indianapolis (just across town). Therefore, the hometown made car won the hometown race!
I personally cheer for Scott Dixon, a very nice New Zealander who now calls Indianapolis home.
While the name of the race has changed a few times over the years, the international flavour of the race is obvious, especially this year. It may be the only genuine World Series Americans pay much attention to.