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Start Your Engines


Start Your Engines
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.04

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    northwest, entire, participate, beginning, boom, farmland, than, originally, racing, praise, speed, surface, mile, loose, predict, qualify
     content words:    Indiana Beach, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Motor Speedway, Ray Harroun, United States, Memorial Day, Indianapolis Motor


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Start Your Engines
By Mary Perrin
  

1     "There is more than corn in Indiana" is the first part of the theme song for the fun park Indiana Beach located in Monticello, Indiana. It is true that there is more than corn in the Hoosier state. Each year in May the Indianapolis Motor Speedway comes alive with race teams and race fans! The Indianapolis 500 has been called one of the greatest of all car races!
 
2     Farmland was bought by four gentlemen who envisioned an automotive test track but later came up with an idea of a place where cars could race each other. With the large boom in the car industry, 382 acres were purchased on the northwest side of Indianapolis, and a car race track began to take shape. More land was bought later to expand it to a total of 559 acres. The track surface was originally built with crushed stone and tar. The first racing event proved that the loose surface would not make for a good racing track. Many drivers had accidents, so the developers turned to another idea. They hired a crew to lay 3.2 million bricks side-by-side to replace the other surface. The brick track gave the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the nickname "The Brickyard." By 1961, all but a small strip at the start/finish line had been covered with blacktop, allowing cars to race safer and also much faster!
 
3     The spirit of racing has been kept alive since 1911 when the first Indianapolis 500 winner, Ray Harroun, was the first to cross the finish line. He raced a total of 500 miles around the two and one half mile track. His average speed was 75 miles per hour, and he won a total of $14,250.

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