Plaque marking the estates of three Indianapolis Motor Speedway founders to be unveiled at Marian University

by Mark Apple | Dec 19, 2016

IMS Founders
Indianapolis – Marian University and the Indiana Racing Memorial Association (IRMA) will celebrate the legacy of the founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by placing a race-themed historic marker at the site of Allison Mansion on the Marian University campus at 4:00 PM on Wednesday, December 14.  The public is invited to attend the event and reception.

“Marian University grew from the former estates of Carl Fisher, James Allison and Frank Wheeler, who with Arthur Newby created the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener.  “We are proud of our connection to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, and are pleased that a marker recognizing the IMS founders will be placed on our campus in 2016, the year that marked the 100th running of the Indy 500 and our state’s Bicentennial." 

“IRMA was founded three years ago to tell the story of Indiana’s rich racing heritage,” added Brian Hasler, IRMA Co-Founder.”  The story of how Indiana became the ‘Racing Capitol of the World’ starts with the Speedway founders and our marker program would not be complete without them.”

Entrepreneur Carl Fisher had the inspiration to build a two and a half mile race track to sponsor multiple racing events and as a means to test innovations in the burgeoning automotive industry.  With friends and fellow investors James Allison, Arthur Newby and Frank Wheeler, Fisher opened the track in 1909.  The five hundred mile International Sweepstakes, later the Indianapolis 500, began in 1911.

“We are pleased to be an Indiana Bicentennial approved project,” said Mark Eutsler, IRMA Co-Founder.  “ The ‘Founders Row’ marker, on the site of the Allison, Fisher and Wheeler homes, is our nineteenth marker in honor of Indiana as the 19th State in the Union.”

The event will include Indianapolis Motor Speedway dignitaries, including IMS President Doug Boles, IMS Historian Donald Davidson and 40 year veteran of the Indianapolis Radio Network Howdy Bell.  Reenactors of the four founders will also participate and will unveil their own marker.

The entire list of IRMA are included below: 

  1. Winchester Speedway on its 100th anniversary.
  2. Three time Indy 500 winner Wilbur Shaw in Shelbyville.
  3. Howdy Wilcox, the 1919 500 winner in Crawfordsville.
  4. The Terre Haute Action Track and promoter Don Smith.
  5. Fan favorite driver Pat O’Connor in North Vernon.
  6. National champion driver Bob Carey in Anderson.
  7. The Stutz Motor Company in Indianapolis.
  8. Ray Harroun, the first winner of the Indy 500, in Anderson.
  9. Driver Larry Rice in Brownsburg.
  10. The Wabash Clay Company, maker of the Speedway bricks, in Veedersburg.
  11. Joe Dawson, the winner of the 1912 Indy 500, in Odon.
  12. Driver Gene Hartley in Roanoke.
  13. The Wizard of Indy, builder A. J. Watson in Speedway.
  14. Salem Speedway.
  15. Historic Jungle Park in Parke County.
  16. Driver Jimmy Daywalt in Wabash.
  17. The Chevrolet Brothers in Indianapolis.
  18. Driver Tony Elliott in Indianapolis.
  19. Founders Row in Indianapolis.

“Although the Fisher home was tragically destroyed by fire in 2014, IRMA would like to thank Marian University for its stewardship of the James Allison and Frank Wheeler homes on their beautiful campus,” said Hasler.  “This marker will celebrate the three men and their friend Arthur Newby for having the vision to create the ultimate racing venue, one that has become synonymous with the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana.”


About Marian University Indianapolis
Marian University (, founded in Indianapolis in 1937, is the only Catholic liberal arts university in central Indiana. It serves a student body of nearly 3,000 through dedication to excellent teaching and learning in the Franciscan and liberal arts traditions. Marian University is one of Indiana’s 31 independent colleges and one of 244 Catholic colleges and universities nationwide. Since 2001, Marian University has been led by President Daniel J. Elsener, whose vision and leadership are transforming the university. In 2013, Marian University opened the Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences, home to its College of Osteopathic Medicine. Marian University has amassed 35 national championships in cycling, captured the NAIA Football National Championship in 2012 and 2015, and won the NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship in 2016.

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