- Indianapolis Motor Speedway Tickets -

The Post War Hulman/Shaw Era * 1946-1955


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After 4 years of war, Speedway owner Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker had other ventures he wished to purse so he expressed a desire to sell the Speedway. Three time winner Wilbur Shaw didn't want to see the Speedway go the way of a housing development, so he looked for interested buyers who would preserve the Speedway. He found such a buyer in Anton "Tony" Hulman Jr. and in late 1945, he and Wilbur negotiated with Capt. Rickenbacker for purchase of the Speedway.
It would take a miracle to get the Speedway ready for a race that was a short 7 month's way - the Speedway was in terrible condition and all the logistics in preparing for and running the race had to be completed in that time.
On May 30th 1946, Tony and Wilbur were pleasantly surprised by the record traffic jam trying to enter the Speedway - they had pulled off a miracle as the 30th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race was a success.

The 1946 ticket continues with the car or track design as in previous years. It is the same **dimensions (4 3/4" x just over 2 1/3") as the 1935-41 stubs and like the 1940 unused ticket, there is a perforation between the gatemans stub and the raincheck, but not between the gatemans stub and portion to the left. Wilbur Shaw now appears as President at lower right and T.E. Meyers Vice. Pres. remains on the rain check and will remain so through 1954. There appear to be two different general admission tickets for 1946. One that is the previous size as 1941 (1 3/4" x 3 1/4") and one that is more square measuring 2" x a little over 2 1/4". The latter will become the general admission standard for 1947 to *present. The square general admission is not dated, but as the race was run on a Thursday in 1946 and it is like those of later years, one assumes this to be 1946. Note that one of the general admission tickets is "Press" and the other "Complimentary". The ticket maker remains "Weldon, Williams & Lick, Ft. Smith, Ark." and is to the present day.

At right above is the top portion to the green square colored general admission ticket.

1947 marks the first year a picture of a driver appears on a ticket with Wilbur Shaw, three time winner and Speedway President, being featured. (1946 winner George Robson may well have been featured on the ticket had he not been killed racing in September of 1946.) This is the first time a picture appears on a ticket since 1912*. Except for 1981 and 1982, the winner or a driver will appear on the ticket from 1947 through today. The size remains the same as 1946 for the grandstand stubs through 1953 with a size change to 5 1/8" x 2 1/2" in 1954. The (square) general admission stubs remain the same size through 1955. Three perforations are now present on unused tickets: between the Admission To Grounds and Gateman's Stub, the Gateman's Stub and the rain check and between the rain check and stub. This remains through today except on Complimentary, Press, Participant, Official, etc. where there is no perforation between the Admission to grounds and the Gateman's stub. However, a perforation does appear on the right side and is between the rain check and the stub. There is also no diagram of the track on the back of these tickets. Note that the Complimentary ticket is stamped "Employee" on the back. The general admission stub now has a legal statement on the back which will remain so through 1955

The 1948 ticket features the first previous years winner, Mauri Rose. "Employee" is now printed on the front instead of stamped on the back of the Complimentary stub. Note that two of the stubs below have serial numbers. One is a "Complimentary Employee" while the other serial numbered stub is believed to be general admission as are others like the 1954 & 1955 below.

1949 features driver Jimmy Jackson with car and the Borg-Warner trophy. 1949 marks the only year where the Complimentary Employee ticket is virtually identical to a grandstand ticket (in this case the 1948) with the necessary changes for 1949 the only difference.

1950 through 1952

Note that one of the grandstand stubs has the box, row and seat pencilled in.

In 1954 the size changes to **5 1/8" x 2 1/2".
Note that the 1954 "Press" is also a grandstand stub.

1955 sees A Hulman Jr. Chairman printed at lower right. The name on the rain check is removed and remains so through today.

It is uncertain if one of the 1955 general admission tickets shown above is discolored, faded, etc., but it appears there are two colors of general admission tickets for 1955.


Stubs from 1946 through 1955, while easier to find than pre-war stubs, are still tough to find in excellent condition with the 1946 the toughest with each year following getting a little easier to find, but not by much.


1909-1916 1919-1929 1930-1941 1956-1975 1976-1992 1993-Present


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

**All measurements are taken from the stub or used ticket.