IndyCar Information

Since 1916 there has been a recognized United States national automobile racing National Championship for drivers of professional-level, single-seat open wheel race cars. The championship has been under the auspices of several different sanctioning bodies since 1909. Since 1911, the Indianapolis 500-mile race has been regarded as the marquee event of the National Championship. As of 2008, the top-level American open wheel racing championship is sanctioned by the Indy Racing League.

The open-wheeled, winged, single-seater cars have generally been similar to those in Formula One, though there are important differences. Due to the fame of the Indianapolis 500, the term Indy Car is a more popular term used to describe the cars that would typically compete in U.S. Championship car racing, popularized during the rising popularity of CART PPG Indy Car World Series racing in the early 1990s.

The national championship was sanctioned by the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association. The AAA first sanctioned automobile motorsports events in 1902 and introduced the first championship for racing cars as early as 1905 but it was canceled after a couple of serious incidents. Barney Oldfield was leading the championship at the point it was canceled. Official records regard 1916 as the first contested season, however, titles were later retroactively awarded back to 1909. Championship racing did not cease in the United States during World War I, however, the Indianapolis 500 itself was voluntarily suspended for 1917–1918. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, all auto racing was suspended. From 1942–1945 no events were contested, primarily due to rationing. Racing resumed in 1946. AAA ceased racing participation after 1955 following the fatal accident of Bill Vukovich and the Le Mans disaster.

Wikipedia, IndyCar, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Championship_Car_Racing (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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