U.S. Postal Service releases Indy 500 Centennial stamp

By Editors on May 25, 2011 12:20 PM

Just in time for this weekend's Indianapolis 500, the United States Postal Service has issued a new first-class stamp that pays homage to the centennial of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Pictured on the stamp is a stylized version of Ray Harroun's Marmon Wasp, which won the inaugural Memorial Day classic held in 1911 in six hours, 42 minutes and eight seconds at a blistering speed of 74.602 mph. In addition to proving fastest and most reliable of the 40 entries that started that contest, Harroun also put his name into the automotive history books that day for being the first driver to install a rearview mirror on his car, one of the many innovations that migrated from the race track to street cars -- and an invention that effectively marked the end of the road for the "riding mechanic."

The USPS chose artist John Mattos to design the "Forever" first-class stamp that depicts Harroun's Marmon Wasp, a vehicle that had previously appeared on a 17.5-cent issue that was part of a special Transporation series released in 1987. And on final bit of related trivia: Although the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is celebrating the centennial year of the Indy 500, suspension of racing during World War I and World War II means this year's race actually will be the 94th running of the competition.

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