Newly discovered footage shows 1948 Indy 500

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INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis 500 is celebrating 100 years of history, and unseen film is being uncovered for the first time in decades.

For 100 years the Indianapolis 500 has always been about the future. This story takes us back in time to review a little Indy 500 history.

"Wouldn't it be great if you could close your eyes or take a pill or something and go back to that time for a while?" said Donald Davidson, Speedway historian.

Back to a time when the buildings on the circle weren't so big, when there were only 48 stars on the flag hovering over the main speedway entrance at 16th Street and Georgetown.

"Computers had not drawn the perfect race car yet. Everybody would have an idea, draw it on paper and build it," said Davidson.

In 1947 and 1948, the race cars had to be put on the Bear rack for a front wheel alignment.

"There is the Pat Clay six wheeler. That was Billie DeVore. It was an experiment that had tandem rear wheels and it made the race too," said Davidson.

No one knows more about the history of man and machine at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway than Donald Davidson.

Eyewitness News looked at some 1948 race footage with him. There are some similarities from 63 years ago to today. You still see the long lines of cars parked to get into the race and the concession stands were around even back then.

The film was taken by Ray Coers Jr. who worked as a yellow shirt at the track in the late 40s, and made available to Eyewitness News by his daughter Tina.

"This is the Palmer Construction Special coming back in and that is Hal Robsin who was the brother of the 1946 winner. They looked so much alike. They looked like twins," said Davidson. "And that believe it or not I think that is Andy Granatelli. I would almost bet that was Andy Granatelli."

As you look back at the start of the 1948 race, the first thing you notice is all the dirt kicked up. The winning car from 1948 is still on display out here at the Indianapolis Speedway Museum.