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Racing Capital of the World

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Leigh Spargur

Photo by Leigh Spargur, courtesy of IMS Photography

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been home to the Indy 500 since 1911.

Indianapolis motorsports are known the world over. The city’s racing history started with the opening of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909, and grew two years later with the inaugural Indianapolis 500. Today, the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” attracts more visitors than any other single-day sporting event. The speedway also hosts NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 and motorcycle racing in the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

Even if you can’t make it for a race, a trip to the speedway is a must. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum is open year-round and has about 30,000 square feet of exhibit space. Here, you’ll see a permanent display of 75 cars, including 30 driven by Indy 500 winners, as well as an extensive trophy collection and a film featuring historic footage. And, learn how timing and scoring methods have evolved since the first race with a display of equipment through the years.

Take a grounds tour for a more enriched experience. The 90-minute tour is offered on select dates March through October and provides a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s largest spectator sporting facility. Get an up-close view of the timing and scoring suite in the Pagoda control tower, the media center, Victory Podium and the garage area where mechanics tune and repair cars on race day. The grounds tour includes a bus ride around the 2.5-mile racetrack and a stop at the famous Yard of Bricks, which racers are known to kiss after a victory. While you’re standing there, it will be hard not to gape at the size of it all. At 253 acres, the track’s infield is big enough to fit Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Colosseum and Vatican City at the same time. A track lap without a full grounds tour is also available.

Golfers take note: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield houses four holes of the Brickyard Crossing golf course. Pete Dye designed the 18-hole course, which opened in 1929.

Indy Racing Experience offers a true taste of the action. For a few hundred dollars, visitors can either ride in a real Indy car with a pro at speeds up to 180 mph, or learn to drive one. Drivers must be 18 or older, under 6’5” and less than 250 pounds.

IF YOU GO:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum
4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis
317-492-6784
Hours: March-October: Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; November-February: Daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults $5
Track Lap: Adults $5
Grounds Tour: March-October: Select weekdays and weekends at 9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Grounds Tour Cost: Adults $25. Museum admission is included.

Brickyard Crossing
4400 W. 16th St., Indianapolis
317-492-6572
Tee times available from noon Monday, 7:30 a.m. Tuesday-Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Cost: 18 holes $90 (includes cart), Rental Clubs $45.

Indy Racing Experience

2A Gasoline Alley, Indianapolis
317-243-7171
Season: Select dates May-October.
Cost: Ride in an IndyCar (three laps) $499; Drive an IndyCar (three laps) $499; Ultimate Experience (Drive three laps, ride two laps) $599.

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