Many people believe that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, also known as “the track,” belongs in the state of Indiana. However, the track’s owner, Roger Penske, disputed this point, stating that the speedway is a part of “track royalty,” and that he is, in fact, from Texas.
It’s true that the Penske family is from Texas, where the track owner grew up. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the track is actually located in Indiana. Here’s the situation.
The History Of The Track
The track, originally known as the Indianapolis Racing Speedway, was founded by a man named Frank Shuman. It was originally built for motorcycles and, later, cars. Although it was originally built for horses, they were eventually phased out, as safety equipment and other amenities became available.
The first official race was held in 1909, and it was so successful that it became an annual event and the “king of the winter sport.” In order to keep up with the growing interest in auto racing, Mr. Shuman decided to build a larger and better track. In 1914, he added an oval design to the track. A grandstand was also added at this time. In 1921, he added a first-class restaurant and cafe.
The track continued to grow in size and became an international event. It wasn’t until 1947 that the track added a second deck of seating, along with an electric sign lighting system. The following year, the track upgraded to an all-timed electric system. These days, most of the races are either 500 meters or one mile in length. Other tracks, such as those in the French and German Formula One series, are even longer.
Does Indianapolis Have To Do With The Track?
Many people believe that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is somehow associated with the track, mostly because there’s an “Indianapolis” in the name. However, there’s no connection at all. Mr. Shuman named his track after his hometown, where he spent his childhood. This is made even more obvious by the fact that the track has never actually been to Indiana and does not intend to ever set foot in the state. In fact, the owner has stated that he doesn’t believe he’ll ever visit it.
Even more confusing is the fact that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a sister track, named the Texas Motor Speedway. The track’s ownership did not give this track its name, but rather has maintained the tradition of the original. This sister track is located in Fort Worth, Texas, and it was originally built in 1970. The difference in the two tracks is that the Texas Motor Speedway originally maintained a dirt surface, while the Indianapolis Motor Speedway kept its asphalt one. However, these days, the two tracks are so interconnected that they’re almost impossible to tell apart.
Who Is The Current Owner Of The Track?
The track is currently owned by Roger Penske, an American entrepreneur who moved to Texas in 1946. Mr. Penske purchased the track from its founder, Frank Shuman, for a price that was originally reported to be around $10 million. In addition to owning the track, Mr. Penske also owns a small piece of a NASCAR team, as well as an IndyCar team. He also purchased the Barcroft Hotel in London, England, in 2015 for a reported price of $12.8 million.
Is The Track In Good Condition?
While the track is located in Indiana, it is actually surrounded by Louisville, Kentucky, which had a large impact on its design. This is mostly because the track was built with the help of a large number of employees from Kentucky, who were relocated to Indianapolis for the project. Due to the proximity to Louisville, many of the buildings at the track are actually a part of the Louisville suburb of Carmel. As a result, the track has a large number of homesick employees.
This is why, when asked if the track will ever host a World War II veteran’s funeral, owner Roger Penske replied, “I don’t know of any plans for a World War II veteran’s funeral at the moment, but I think that’s a great idea, and I’ll be sure to pass it on.” Even more surprising is the fact that the track’s parking lot often has more cars than spaces available. This might suggest that the track is in good condition, considering how long it has been operating. However, when asked if this was indeed the case, the track’s general manager replied, “I wish it were, but it’s not. We are aware that there are people looking for parking spaces, and the spaces are limited.”
Will The Track Ever Host A World War II Veteran’s Funeral?
Considering how unique and special World War II veterans are, it is quite unlikely that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will ever host a funeral for this particular demographic. However, it is not impossible that the track will one day host a funeral for a regular Joe. In an effort to make this possible, Roger Penske has already initiated a petition, asking Mr. Shuman to allow for the burial of American war veterans at the track. As of this writing, the petition has over 50 signatures.
Penske has also stated that he would like to see all World War II veterans receive full honors at the track, including a flag-draped coffin, full-fledged military funerals, and a gun salute. While it is admirable that the track owner wants to do everything in his power to make this happen, it is not a solution to simply increase parking spaces or build a new track.
Is The Track Worth Visiting?
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an iconic piece of Americana, and, for this reason, it is definitely worth a visit. However, as has been made evident by this article, the track is quite a bit less iconic than one might think. It is owned by a man from Texas, who has never set foot in the state and does not intend to ever do so. In fact, the owner has said that he firmly believes that the track will never be needed after the war.
This is quite an unsettling thought for anyone who might consider it worth a visit. One might assume that, considering how long it has been since the last race was held there, that the track would be in need of some TLC. However, as the general manager of the track stated, “The fact is, it still runs like a dream.” In other words, it’s still standing (mostly) because it was built to last and is not in need of any major repairs. It is also curious that the track has never really gotten the attention it deserves, considering how iconic it is. If anyone is looking for a museum piece that is truly worth a visit, it is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.