Sam Hornish, Jr.

Without Tony Hulman, There May Not Be An Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS — It was 1945 and the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway was in disrepair. Already in desperate need of improvements, a third of Gasoline Alley had burned four years earlier. Then came World War II and a four-year hiatus for the Indianapolis 500.

The track had been virtually abandoned during the war and many believed it would be sold to make way for a housing development.

Enter Anton "Tony" Hulman.

A businessman from Terre Haute, Hulman was recruited by three-time Indy 500 winner Wilbur Shaw to purchase the track. For a purchase price reported to be $750,000, Hulman took over the speedway and began major renovations and repairs that allowed the Indy...