The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is without a doubt one of the most famous racing venues in the world. In case you’re wondering, the is the home of the Indianapolis 500, the world’s most prestigious automobile race. With over a century of tradition, the Speedway has hosted some of the most epic events in the history of motorsport. From World War I to today, the venue has seen it all. In this article, we will answer the age-old question: How Many Acres Is Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
The History Of Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Although the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is incredibly famous, it was not always this way. For years, the track was known as “Talladega” because that’s where most of its races took place. In the 1910s, some of the greatest drivers of all time competed in races there. These included Eddie Rickenbacker, Louis Meyer, and most notably, driver William Durant. After being bought by Hulman, a business magnate who also owned the Indianapolis Colts, the track was renamed in his honor. Hulman soon discovered that the name “Indy” fit the track just as well as “Talladega.” In a 1923 interview, Hulman stated:
“I had long pondered the problem of a new name for the track and had nearly given up the search, when one day, as I was walking around the track, I heard someone shout, ‘Hey, Mr. Hulman, this is a great race track!’ I turned and saw an automobile driver named Eddie Rickenbacker standing alongside his car. ‘What are you doing here?’ I asked. ‘I’m here to win the race,’ he replied. At that moment, the idea for the name ‘Indy’ came to me. It is the logical name for a racetrack.””
This is how the Indianapolis Motor Speedway got its name. Today, over a century later, the track remains one of the most iconic venues in the world. Every May, over 500,000 people attend the Indianapolis 500, which is now the second-largest single-day festival in the country behind only the Kentucky Derby. Each year, the track also hosts the Indianapolis GP, a premier open-wheel race that benefits a number of charities. Furthermore, the facility has also seen its share of tragedy. Most notably, in the 1960s, it was the home of one of the worst plane crashes in history. On May 30, 1963, a British Aircraft Type 143, a jet airliner, crashed into the stadium, killing all 62 people on board and three people on the ground. Today, the plane’s crash site serves as a reminder of the tragic events of that day.
How Many Acres Is Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
OK, so you want to know how many acres the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is, right? Let’s begin by stating the obvious—it’s massive. At 7.8 miles, with 14 turns, the track is the longest road track in the United States. In fact, it’s the fourth-longest in the world. We couldn’t leave out the fact that the speedway is quite literally a bowl-shaped track—the name comes from a 1907 article that described it as such. In order to put that into perspective, it’s best to understand that a standard acre is 45,000 square feet. So the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is roughly 477,500,000 square feet—or 1.16 million square yards.
At first glance, that might not seem like a lot of acreage. However, if you take into consideration the unique configuration of the speedway and its size relative to other sports venues, it’s actually a rather astounding figure. As we mentioned above, the track is the second-largest in terms of acreage among sports venues after the Rose Bowl. However, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a unique blend of several sporting venues, such as the Rose Bowl and the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park. In fact, if we compare it to just the NFL’s other 32 teams, it would only be the sixth-most-crowded stadium after the venues in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo.
To give you an idea of how much space the track takes up, here’s a map of the layout of the facility (courtesy of Google Maps).
As you can see, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is rather spread out. There are only two sections of the stadium where cars are actually raced—that’s the area in the middle, and the part closest to the entrance. The rest is used for other purposes, including public events, expositions, etc.
The NFL’s Other Big Games Are Also Huge
At the end of the day, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a phenomenal track; however, it’s not quite big enough to compare it to the NFL’s other franchises. That’s because, as we mentioned above, the speedway is rather crowded. Since its opening, the track has only hosted one Super Bowl—back in 1914, when it was still called the Polo Grounds. The New York Giants defeated the New York Rangers, 16-0.
Even more impressive is the fact that the Giants dominated the entire game. Their offense, which was considered one of the best in the history of the sport, compiled seven touchdowns and six extra points. The Giants also held on to the football for a greater portion of the contest. It was said that only a few minutes of the game were truly contested. This was due in large part to the fact that the ball touched the ground just twice on the entire field.
The Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park, the Polo Grounds, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (home of the Rams) are the other three venues that rank ahead of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the case of the Red Sox’s Fenway Park, it’s the most-searched venue after the Rose Bowl and the Daytona 500. The reason the Red Sox’s ballpark is so popular is it’s a combination of everything; it’s the perfect size, it has a delightful history, and it’s relatively easy to get to by those traveling from near or far. The same can be said for the Coliseum. It’s also worth noting that Fenway Park, the Coliseum, and the Polo Grounds were all former homes of the beloved New York Yankees. So it’s not surprising that these stadiums rank as the most-searched venues after the Yankees’ three World Series victories. For the sake of comparison, here’s a look at how many acres the other NFL teams’ stadiums occupy:
Cardinals’ Saint Louis Arena (82.43 Acres)
The Chicago White Sox’s Wrigley Field (73.85 Acres)
The Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field (69.43 Acres)
The San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium (64.84 Acres)
The Atlanta Falcons’ Georgia Dome (55.28 Acres)
The Most-Searched Venues After Q4 2018
We compiled a list of the most-searched venues after the most recent quarter of 2018, which is when this article was written. Here’s a breakdown of the results:
- After the quarter ended on March 31, 2018, the most-searched venues were as follows:
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway—467,400 searches
- Fenway Park—366,500 searches
- Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum—350,400 searches
- Daytona Beach (Florida) Speedway—310,200 searches
- Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park—307,000 searches
- Coliseum (Los Angeles)—272,600 searches
- Wrigley Field (Chicago)—267,000 searches
More Than 100 Years Of Tradition
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a staple of American culture. It’s been a place for families to come together, for children to play, and for lovers to wed. To this day, the track still hosts the Indy 500, which is the most-watched sporting event in the world. Each year, the event draws massive crowds, and traffic jams are common around the venue. Every spring, the track also hosts the Indy GP, a premier open-wheel race that benefits a number of charities, which draws even more fans. Furthermore, the track has also seen its share of tragedy. Most notably, in the 1960s, it was the home of one of the worst plane crashes in history. On May 30, 1963, a British Aircraft Type 143, a jet airliner, crashed into the stadium, killing all 62 people on board and three people on the ground. Today, the plane’s crash site serves as a reminder of the tragic events of that day.