Carl Fisher

Carl Fisher was an entrepreneur, a daredevil and a genius at marketing whatever venture he chose to pursue.

Before the automobile, he was racing bicycles and while still a teenager opened a bicycle shop in downtown Indianapolis -- which he once promoted by pedaling a bicycle across a tightrope between two downtown buildings.

When autos came along he raced them, sold them and made a fortune selling early gas-powered headlamps. He was a man of big ideas -- and one of them was to build a racetrack big enough to put the newest automotive technologies to an endurance test. It was this idea that became the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911.