Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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1947

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is best known for it’s signature event The Indy 500.  But, it’s not exactly lights out the other 364 days of the year.

You’ll find a museum complete with an impressive collection of Indy cars – many of them previous Indy 500 winners. They offer year round tours of the facility.  There’s also a public golf course as part of the property as well – with several holes located inside the actual track.

The race track itself is almost beyond comprehension. The length of the track is 2.5 miles — which doesn’t sound all that impressive until you see everything that could technically fit inside the world’s most famous oval. For starters, Churchill Downs in neighboring state Kentucky could easily fit inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But, you could also add in Vatican City, the Rose Bowl, Wimbledon, Yankee Stadium and the Roman Colosseum,

There are 17 grand stands covering about 220 acres. And with more than 250 thousand permanent seats – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is easily the largest spectator sporting facility in the world.

However, the Indy 500 is truly the one day of the year that gives racing fans and locals in Indianapolis a feeling perhaps matched only by Christmas morning.

Tom Surber handles PR for the motor speedway. He’s also the very first person here on race day.

“I’m here at 3:30 in the morning, not because I have to be but because I want to be.  I love seeing this place come to life.” He adds “There’s nothing like being here on race day, watching those cars go 200 miles per hour around that corner.”

Just down the road – you’ll find the Dallara Indycar Factory — where guests can try racing simulators, learn how these vehicles are made and experience a ride in a street legal Indycar.  An amusing side note: “street legal” means they added blinkers.

As you take a ride around the streets of Indy in this modified race car (it’s been stretched out to fit two people) the first thing you notice is just how close to the ground you are. While the speeds on this particular experience don’t go as fast as the cars on race day, it’s fast enough to appreciate the talent and for lack of a better word, courage of the people who drive these things professionally.

The Indianapolis 500 happens every Memorial Day weekend while the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is open year round for tours and admission to the museum.  It’s located at: 4790 W 16th St, Indianapolis, IN 46222.