Speed Capital

Indianapolis Auto Racing and the Making of Modern America
Author: Brian M. Ingrassia
How a speedway became a legendary sports site and sparked America’s car culture
Cloth – $125
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 02/06/2024
Cloth: 02/06/2024
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About the Book

The 1909 opening of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway marked a foundational moment in the history of automotive racing. Events at the famed track and others like it also helped launch America’s love affair with cars and an embrace of road systems that transformed cities and shrank perceptions of space.

Brian M. Ingrassia tells the story of the legendary oval’s early decades. This story revolves around Speedway cofounder and visionary businessman Carl Graham Fisher, whose leadership in the building of the transcontinental Lincoln Highway and the iconic Dixie Highway had an enormous impact on American mobility. Ingrassia looks at the Speedway’s history as a testing ground for cars and airplanes, its multiple close brushes with demolition, and the process by which racing became an essential part of the Golden Age of Sports. At the same time, he explores how the track’s past reveals the potent links between sports capitalism and the selling of nostalgia, tradition, and racing legends.

About the Author

Brian M. Ingrassia is an associate professor of history at West Texas A&M University and the author of The Rise of Gridiron University: Higher Education’s Uneasy Alliance with Big-Time Football.



Speed Capital is a fabulous history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ingrassia peels back layers of asphalt, meaning, and memory to reveal the significance of the city and its brick track to American technology, transportation, sport, and spectacle. A must-read for anyone curious about speed’s attraction or its consequences for individuals, American cities, and our politics.”--Annie Gilbert Coleman, author of Ski Style: Sport and Culture in the Rockies