Fisher and colleagues knew something needed to change. After track tests showed that bricks offered more traction than gravel and were more durable than concrete, the men decided to transform the Indianapolis Motor Speedway into a brick-laden track. Local businesses in Indiana supplied the men with over three million bricks for the repaving. The speedway re-opened in December 1909, and immediately earned “The Brickyard” moniker.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway kept its brick track until 1938, when the entire racetrack gained a new and fresh layer of asphalt. However, a 36-inch strip of the original brick road remains at the start/finish line.
Famously referred to as the “Yard of Bricks,” there’s a tradition among NASCAR and Indy 500 winners to kneel before the Yard of Bricks and plant a kiss on the surface as a homage to the speedway’s illustrious history. The first kiss was by NASCAR Champion Dale Jarret in 1996, and the tradition held on ever since.