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1957: The 500 Festival is born

Posted at 11:03 PM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 23:03:55-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- 1957 was the first year for the 500 Festival.

200,000 people jammed the streets of downtown to see the 500 Festival Parade the night before the Indianapolis 500.

Actress Cyd Charisse was there as a guest of the Borg-Warner Company. Earlier that same day, she turned heads at the Driver's Meeting.

After everyone cleared out, workers prepped the track by vacuuming the bricks.

The Purdue Marching Band and Majorettes provided entertainment as fans arrived on race day. There was also a brand new master control tower at the track.

Only 31 drivers actually took the green flag because two drivers crashed on the pace lap.

Drivers sped down the straight, some at 170 miles an hour. The leader of each lap earned an extra $150.

Sam Hanks had only led a total of four laps in his 11 previous starts.

Hanks finally broke apart from the group with about 65 laps to go, and stayed ahead of the pack, even with a pit stop.

After settling for second the year before, it was finally time for Hanks to earn his spot on the Borg-Warner Trophy in 1957.

He drove into Victory Lane for a payday of more than $103,000, kisses from Cyd Charisse, and then his wife.

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