Indianapolis 500 Pit Badges
Back Up Cards
Fake and Reproductions
Metal pit badges have been issued by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1938, but why they were issued is not known. One possibility is the Speedway wanted an all inclusive credential that allowed gate, garage and pit access. In 1937, it is assumed* those associated with race teams would’ve been issued a season pass for the month and the appropriate credential for race day. (spectators could also get temporary and season track passes). If the Speedway did intend for the metal badge in 1938 to be all inclusive, why did they issue both cardboard credentials and badges from 1938-1941 and 1946? If you have the answer, please let us know.
Beginning in 1947 the Speedway issued "Bronze" and "Silver" badges. Bronze badges allowed gate and garage access during the month and silver badges did the same but also allowed pit access. On race day, one needed a Back Up Card (see the Back Up Card page for more information). *Early bronze badges were indeed bronze, but silver badges were only a silver colored pot metal. Bronze badges began being made of a bronze colored pot metal sometime in the late 1950's or early 1960's.
Makers of Pit Badges from 1938 to present are: St. Louis Button Co., G.J. Mayer Co., Bastian Brothers, Herf Jones and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation. All badges from 1938 through today have a makers name, logo(s) or a statement which is usually on the back of the badge except: 1946, 61, 74, 75, 80, 81 & 82 which have no makers name, logo(s) or statements.
There are examples of "proofs" or "salesman’s samples" which generally have number "0000" or no number. They will be shown where available.
Pit badges have been reproduced over the years and there are examples of some on the Reproduction Pit Badges page.
* This information is to the best of our knowledge. If anyone has more information, please contact: NI500CC@NI500CC.COM