Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana, (an enclave suburb of Indianapolis) in the United States, is the home of the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400. It is located on the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road, approximately six miles (10 km) west of Downtown Indianapolis.
Constructed in 1909, it is the original speedway, the first racing facility so named. It has a permanent seating capacity estimated at 257,325, with infield seating raising capacity to an approximate 400,000. It is the highest-capacity sports venue in the world.
Considered relatively flat by American standards, the track is a two-and-a-half mile, nearly rectangular oval with dimensions that have remained essentially unchanged since its inception: four 1⁄4-mile (400 m) turns, two 5⁄8-mile-long (1,000 m) straightaways between the fourth and first turns and the second and third turns, and two 1⁄8-mile (200 m) short straightaways, termed “short chutes”, between the first and second, and third and fourth turns.
A modern infield road course was constructed between 1998 and 2000, incorporating the western and southern portions of the oval (including the southwest turn) to create a 2.605-mile (4.192 km) track. In 2008, the road course was modified to replace the southwest turn with an additional infield section, for motorcycle use, resulting in a 2.621-mile (4.218 km) course. Altogether, the current grounds have expanded from an original 320 acres (1.3 km2) on which the speedway was first built to cover an area of over 559 acres (2.3 km2). Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, it is the only such landmark to be affiliated with automotive racing history.
In addition to the Indianapolis 500, the speedway also hosts NASCAR’s Brickyard 400. From 2000 to 2007, the speedway also hosted the United States Grand Prix for Formula One. The inaugural USGP race drew an estimated 400,000 spectators, setting a Formula One attendance record. In 2008, the speedway added the Indianapolis motorcycle Grand Prix, a Grand Prix motorcycle racing event.
Since August 19, 1909, 248[needs update] automobile races have taken place, with 137[needs update] separate drivers winning. As of 2014, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon are tied for the record for most victories among the three major events (Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and the F1 USGP), with Schumacher’s wins all taking place on the Formula One version of the road course while Gordon holds the record for the traditional oval after winning the 2014 Brickyard 400. A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears each won the Indianapolis 500 four times on the traditional oval, and Jimmie Johnson has also won four times on the oval in the Brickyard 400. No driver to date has won any combination of the three major events, with only two drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve, having competed in all three, with Montoya winning the Indy 500, finishing fourth in the US Grand Prix, and second in the Brickyard 400. Villeneuve also won the Indy 500, had a best finish of fourth in the US Grand Prix, and a 29th place in the Brickyard 400. Johnny Aitken holds the record for total wins at the track, with 15 victories (all on the oval), during the 1909, 1910, and 1916 seasons.
On the grounds of the speedway is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, which opened in 1956. The museum moved into its current building located in the infield near the short chute between turns one and two in 1975; its previous building outside the track at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road was razed for the construction of current IMS administration offices. Also on the grounds is the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort, which originally opened as the Speedway Golf Course in 1929. The golf course has 14 holes outside of the track, along the backstretch, and four holes in the infield. The speedway was also the venue of the opening ceremonies for the 1987 Pan American Games.