Ray Harroun's 1911 Marmon Wasp. Image: USPS
When it comes to racing in America, few events are as iconic as the annual Indianapolis 500, often called, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The initial 500 mile race was held on May 30, 1911, before a crowd of some 80,000 spectators. Back then, it took winner Ray Harroun 6 hours and 42 minutes to cover the distance in his Marmon Wasp racer, averaging just under 75 miles per hour. Harroun was the only racer in the inaugural event driving without a riding mechanic, thanks to an invention he pioneered and called the “rearview mirror.”
One hundred years later, the Indy 500 has grown into one of the largest single-day sporting events in the world. Although no longer part of the F1 World Driving Championship, as it was from 1950 to 1960, the race still attracts drivers and fans from all over the world. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first race, the United States Postal Service is issuing a commemorative Indianapolis 500 Forever Stamp, featuring Ray Harroun and his race-winning Marmon Wasp.
Said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, “At the Postal Service, we understand the power of our stamps in celebrating American history and culture — in this case, the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. I won’t be so bold as to predict the winner of the race, but I will predict that 50 or 100 years from now the U.S. Postal Service will issue another stamp to commemorate the next milestone anniversary of this great event.”
As with all Forever Stamps, the stamp celebrating 100 Years of Racing will always be valid for use as a First-Class Mail stamp for the one-ounce rate. In addition to the stamps, the Postal Service is offering a variety of products of interest to stamp collectors and race fans alike. Check out The Postal Store for more information on products available.