Representatives of Allison Transmission Holdings Inc. and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) celebrated their shared heritage and recent centennial milestones this week with a ceremony to honor the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Employees and local dignitaries attended the outdoor event at Allison’s global headquarters in Speedway, Indiana, several blocks south of the world famous racetrack. The Marmon Wasp, winning car of the first 500-mile race in 1911, was on-site, as well as actors representing the track’s four co-founders: James Allison, Carl Fisher, Arthur Newby and Frank Wheeler. As part of the ceremony, the leaders of both companies made remarks and exchanged symbolic gifts.
Allison traces its corporate lineage back to the founding of the Indianapolis Speedway Team Co. on Sept. 14, 1915. As a co-founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and part owner of several racing teams, James Allison, a prominent entrepreneur, innovator and businessman, established a precision machine shop and experimental firm on Main Street in Speedway called the Allison Experimental Co. to support his racing endeavors.
Dewey presented Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles with an award featuring a gear, representative of both companies’ origins and a fundamental component still used by Allison to manufacture its transmissions. Boles presented Dewey with a Culver Block, which were used to pave the track in 1909.
James Allison was one of two co-founders who signed the contract for more than 3 million bricks used to upgrade the track surface, and led to the facility’s nickname as the ‘Brickyard.’ As a race team owner, Allison won the 1919 Indianapolis 500 with driver Howdy Wilcox. In 1923, he became the primary shareholder and president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Co. and remained in that position until he oversaw its sale in 1927.