In 1995, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) was a racetrack in transition. The previous year, track President Tony George had announced plans to launch the Indy Racing League, a new oval-based series for American open-wheel racing centered on the Indianapolis 500. Additionally, NASCAR hosted the first Brickyard 400 in the summer of 1994, breaking a decades-long tradition of the Indy 500 as IMS’ only annual race. NASCAR would return to Indianapolis for a second race in August 1995, but in May, the Brickyard was gearing up for the 79th Indy 500. A special two-toned purple and white Corvette paced the field, marking the third time that a Corvette had served as the Indy 500’s official pace car. 

The race is best remembered today for its controversial finish. During a restart with 11 laps to go, leader Scott Goodyear drove around the pace car while coming toward the green flag. Race officials assessed a stop-and-go penalty to Goodyear, who argued that the track safety lights had turned green and that he was cleared to restart. Goodyear also thought that the pace car had been going too slowly, and the drivers behind him had nearly collided trying not to pass the pace car themselves. As a result, Goodyear’s team instructed him to ignore the black flag and continue to race. With five laps to go, race officials stopped scoring Goodyear, making Jacques Villeneuve the leader. Villeneuve went on to win the race. Goodyear and his team considered protesting the penalty, but a review of video evidence revealed that the safety lights were still yellow when he passed the pace car. 

The start of the second Brickyard 400, run on the first Saturday in August, was delayed by rain. Once the race got underway, it was slowed by only one caution flag. Dale Earnhardt captured the victory, earning Chevrolet a second win at Indianapolis following Jeff Gordon’s victory in the inaugural event. Earnhardt won with an average speed of 155.206 miles per hour, still the second-fastest Brickyard 400 ever run.  

 Throughout its history, Indianapolis Motor Speedway has periodically released commemorative glassware honoring Indy 500 winners. This wine glass from 1995, however, signals the arrival of NASCAR at the Brickyard. It recognizes both Villeneuve and Earnhardt as the winner of IMS’ two races, a turning point in the history of America’s most storied speedway.