Dayton has long been a hotbed for automobile racing. Whether it's the city's knack for invention, its heavy involvement in the auto manufacturing industry, its nearness to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or because it has had fabled tracks of its own - from the now defunct Dayton Speedway on Germantown Pike to Kil-Kare Raceway and especially nearby Eldora Speedway, the Yankee Stadium of dirt tracks that is as popular as ever in Darke County. Earl Baltes, a former dance band musician and farmer, built and ran Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, until he recently sold it to the famous NASCAR dirver, Tony Stewart. The city and surrounding area has been extensively involved in every aspect of the sport. The Central States Racing Association (CSRA), the once powerful sanctioning body for racing across the Midwest, was headquartered in Dayton and run by Brown Street physician, Dr. H.K. Bailey. In 1909, a two-seater Stoddard-Dayton, built by the Dayton Motor Car Co. in Dayton, Ohio, won the first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, averaging 57.3 miles per hour. The first pace car ever was a Stoddard-Dayton driven by Carl G. Fisher to start the Indianapolis 500 in 1911.
Indy 500 drivers who lived in the greater Dayton area: Mauri Rose (two time Indy winner), Bud Tingelstad, Spider Web, Duke Dinsmore, Salt Walther and Harlan Fengler (Chief Steward from 1958-1973).
Famous drivers who raced here: A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Rex Mays, Ted Horn, Duane Carter, Eddie Sachs, Troy Ruttman, Lee Petty, Benny Parsons and Curtis Turner.
Car owners, designers and mechanics who have called Dayton home: John Vance Sr., and Jr., George Walther, Gene and Bob Shannon, Clarence "Mutt" Anderson and Ron Hemelgarn, whose car driven by
Buddy Lazier won the 1996 Indy 500.
David "Salt" Walther of Dayton is the only person who has competed in the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 (seven starts), and the unlimited hydroplane circuit.