- Indianapolis Motor Speedway Programs -

Bootleg and Unofficial - 1909-Present


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Bootleg or unofficial programs have more than likely been around since the balloon race of June 1909, but the first example we're aware of is from 1911 which is a smaller version of the pink drivers listing portion of the actual 1911 program. Couple the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the motivation to make a profit or promote yourself or business and you've got the recipe for a bootleg or unofficial program. Some are just for advertising and were probably given away as a promotion such as the 1912 put out by the McKernan's Mens Clothing Store of Indianapolis or the 1913 and 1922 featuring Bob Burman and 1915 winner Ralph DePalma on the covers respectively (note that both the 1912 and 1913 spell program as "Programme" which is commonly seen on foreign programs). Others were for profit and have a price for purchase such as the 1933. The 1913 and 1914 with the 1912 program cover reproduced on the front with the ad for chicken dinners at Hitzelberger's and the 1915 from the Monon Railroad tie in both ideas. The second 1913 also has scoring pages, an entry list and ads so it is closer to an official progam than most others. Note the first 1915 is very similar to the 1913 except there is no ad at the bottom.

They come in all shapes, sizes and designs from the narrow 1916 records of entrants pamphlet to the bright red program size 1938's or the plain digest size of 1930 and 1934.

Most have just a few pages with some advertising and/or pictures and may have little or no information save for an entrant and/or score chart like that of the 1928 Veedol, 1937 Souvenir Score Card or the Burd Piston Rings from 1941 and the 1947. Others are more substantial such as the 1968 which has forty six pages (counting front & back) with copied information from the actual 1968 program or the 1985 which is about a 1/4 that of the actual program in both size and content.

The Speedway did try to thwart bootleggers in 1919 when car numbers were not assigned until race day, but it barely made a dent as the bootleggers continued making programs as seen with the 1922 and those of subsequent years. While the 1985 may be the last known bootleg or unofficial program there may yet be others from more recent years, but with the cost of materials to make a bootleg program of any quality and/or quantity becoming more expensive and copyright laws more stringent, the idea of making such a program is more or less a wasted effort today.

As to values or rarity, it is assumed bootleg or unofficial programs were made in less quantity than actual programs which would make them more scarce or rare. However, while they may be more scarce or rare than actual programs, the demand for actual programs is more than bootlegs or unofficial programs so this must be taken into account when determining a value.


1909-1916 1919-1929 1930-1941 1946-1955 1956-1975 1976-2010 2011-present Reprints


* This information is to the best of our knowledge. If anyone has more information, please contact: NI500CC@NI500CC.COM or dar500@indy.rr.com