Tony Hulman

Before 1945, Anton 'Tony' Hulman Jr. was just another wealthy businessman little known outside his home town of Terre Haute. His family owned a wholesale grocery business best known for its 'Clabber Girl' baking soda.

However, he had long been a fan of the Indianapolis 500, and when former driver Wilbur Shaw told him the famed but rundown Speedway might be torn down for housing development, Hulman soon agreed to buy it for $700,000 from then-owner Eddie Rickenbacker.

Hulman invested millions in the track and every year proclaimed "gentlemen, start your engines." He died in 1977, and the Speedway remains privately owned by his heirs.