History behind decades old Borg-Warner Trophy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Some people are calling it one of the most iconic trophies in all of Motorsports. The Borg-Warner trophy dates back to 1935.

Inside of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on a Tuesday afternoon is where you’ll find dozens of students. Many of them are looking to understand a part of racing history.

Peyton Hill is in elementary school. Hill and his classmates have been learning everything about the Indy 500, including the Borg-Warner trophy.

“How much time it takes to go around the whole lap and how many laps it is,” said Hill. “The faces have all the winners on it and it’s silver.”

The $3.5 million trophy has been traveling across the country from California to Washington D.C. to promote the 100th running of the Indy 500.

“This May is very very special,” said Steve Shunck who works for BorgWarner..

Shunck said what makes the trophy more special is the history and tradition behind the sterling piece. It was produced just outside of Chicago more than 80 years ago.

“Every year after the race, a sculptor creates the little faces that’s about the size of a walnut in high detail,” he said. “Every year since 1935 the faces have been added.”

Each face takes about three months to complete and is done by William Behrends from North Carolina.

The sculpting process goes from clay to ceramic to wax to sterling silver. If you take a closer look at the trophy, you may even notice that something else is also changing.

“The style of helmets has changed over the years. The last driver to win with what they call an open style helmet was Al Unser in 1970,” he said.

Shunck said the trophy represents history of the sport all in one spot with faces and names that have made an impact in the racing world.

“You don’t have to Google it, you don’t have to do anything,” he said. “You can look at it and see the faces, you see the years that they won and like I said I think it’s neat,” Shunck said.

Shunck said the winner’s face is sculpted during the summer followed by a ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in December.

The trophy travels during the winter time. In the past it has appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live.

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