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Indy 500 history: 1925

Posted at 5:00 PM, Mar 02, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- In the year 1925, Indianapolis welcomed young patients from around the state to the brand new Riley Hospital for Children.

Children suffering from polio and other orthopedic conditions came to the new facility, which was built on land it still occupies today. The hospital was built to honor the memory of famed Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley.

Also opening its doors in this year, was what the Indy Star called the "World's largest bus terminal" in downtown Indianapolis. 

Buses paraded through the city to celebrate the terminal at Maryland Street and Capitol Avenue.

And for the 13th running of the Indianapolis 500, the celebration turned to Pete DePaolo, who dominated the race.

But DePaolo didn't do it alone.

His hands became so blistered that his owner pulled him from the race to get them bandaged, and called in relief driver Norman Batton, who filled in for 21 laps.

When DePaolo was able to take the wheel back, his car ran 5th. He raced his Deusenber back to the lead and took the checkered flag.

DePaolo was the first entry to finish the 500 miles in under five hours and the first to average over 100 miles per hour.

He was also the nephew to Ralph DePalma, who held the record at the time for the most laps led at the Indy 500, winning in 1915.

DePaolo never won another Indy 500, but he never strayed far from auto racing. He was a car owner for the 1935 race, which occurred the year after a wreck in Spain left him in a coma, and owned a NASCAR team in the 1950s. He also sang "Back Home Again in Indiana" prior to the 1971 edition, the only driver to have performed the race-day anthem.

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