How Big Is The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Track? [Ultimate Guide!]

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway track is one of the most famous sports venues in the United States, and it boasts a long and storied history. The first Indianapolis 500 was held there in 1909, establishing it as the nation’s premier automotive race. Since then, the track has been the scene of some of the most memorable races in history, including the first race to feature the Indy Car, the famous Brickyard 400, and the first American Grand Prix. Additionally, the track has hosted the U.S. Open Motorcycle Championship, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League. Even if you don’t particularly follow motorsports, you might know something about the track. It’s been mentioned on shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, and has been featured in movies like National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze and Hoosier Hundred. So, how big is this track actually is? Let’s take a look.

The Track Is Big

With a total surface area of 1.8 miles, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track is not small. The banked oval is quite a bit larger than a typical race track, which is primarily due to the nature of the event itself. As mentioned, the first Indianapolis 500 was originally a tractor pull, and the track was created to accommodate the size of the tractors at the time. These days, the most common size for a tractor is around 12-15 horses, which is a lot of horsepower. A lot of traction. As a result, the track is longer than a typical oval, extending 6.77 miles around the halfway point. If you’re looking to keep your car on the straight and narrow, you might want to avoid this one. There are also many turns and obstacles on and around the track, making it more difficult to draft in an upcoming race.

The Track Is Getting Smaller

Despite its size, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track is getting smaller. Back in the 1930s, when the track was first built, there were a lot more turns and not quite as many obstacles as there are today. The surface area of the track was also considerably smaller, only around 1.7 miles. However, over the years, more and more asphalt was laid down, resulting in a bit of a safety car situation. If you were to drive around the entire track today, there would be no other cars to collide with, which is why the track is getting smaller. The track also has a lot of work done on it to make it more comfortable for the drivers. This includes the renovation of the track’s infield and the creation of the infield roadways. Additionally, the track is hosting more events than ever before, including the IndyCar Grand Prix and the popular U.S. Grand Prix, which is part of the Formula One circuit. This is leading to more people visiting the track, creating a better experience for everyone involved. In the future, the track might even become a bit smaller due to the popularity of esports and virtual reality, which don’t require as much physical interaction as actual driving.

How Does The Track’s Shape Impact Performance?

Another important thing to consider about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track is how its shape impacts performance. The track is a banked oval, which means that the turns are banked, forming a crescent shape around the middle. The theory behind banked ovals is that they create more friction and air resistance as you’re exiting the turn, which makes for quicker lap times. It might not seem like a big deal, but at 200mph+, it’s all about fractions of seconds.

The Track’s Layout Is Complicated

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway track is complicated. There are a lot of turns and a lot of changes in direction. This makes it difficult to visualize where you are going and how you’re going to get there. There are also a lot of hard-to-read flags lining the track. Sometimes they’re there to help you and other times they’re there to confuse you. Take a look at the complicated intersection at the end of the back straight:

This is definitely not the kind of place you want to be if you’re not used to traffic lights. The track is designed in a way that makes it very difficult for drivers to anticipate the cars around them. This means there are always going to be some close calls, which is what makes it so much fun to watch a race there. The layout of the track is also such that it encourages some unique strategies, leading to some pretty interesting side notes in the race report. Take a look:

Sometimes it’s better to start at the back to catch the tail enders. Sometimes it’s better to stay closer to the middle as there are fewer turns towards the end. It’s all about what works best for you. In the end, the track’s layout will never be a secret. It’s always going to be slightly different, but you’re going to know how it works.

The Track Is A National Treasure

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway track is a national treasure. If you’ve never been there, you should visit ASAP. The only thing more impressive than the track itself is its size. It’s one of the largest tracks in the world. It takes a lot of space to stage an Indy 500, and it’s impossible to walk around the entire thing in a day. So, if you do get the chance to go there, make sure you take your time and really absorb the atmosphere. If you come back alive, you might have an opportunity to try out for the Indy 500. Just kidding. That’s not how it works. But, you never know.

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