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The Empire Motor Car Company was founded in 1909 in Indianapolis, Indiana by Arthur Newby, Carl Fisher, James Allison, and Robert Hassler. Their first cars were 4-cylinder, $800 cars they nicknamed "The Little Aristocrat". Shortly after beginning auto manufacturing, three of the men, Fisher, Newby and Allison along with Frank H. Wheeler decided to build an oval race track called the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After a disastrous inaugural race on the dirt track, the owners decided to pave the entire track with bricks, with the last brick being gold-plated. The first car to try out the new track was an Empire. The gentlemen decided that holding an annual 500 mile race on Memorial Day would make the track lucrative. Convinced they were on to a good thing, they forgot about the Empire and sold the company to another group of Indianapolis businessmen in 1911.