The new year has begun, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming racing season. As the motorsport world gears up for another thrilling year, let’s take a trip back in time to look at one of the most legendary tracks in the country. Does Sunday still mean something special to you? Do you stop by the ballpark to cheer on your teams or come to the stadium to celebrate a major feat?
The answer depends on where you are located. Unfortunately, the answer is not all that straightforward, so let’s look at each situation separately.
If you are in Thrillsville, you know exactly what Sunday means. It’s the day the baseball gods shower you with a golden shower, as the Indianapolis 500 is on that day. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Does that baseball player even play the game?” Well, if you happen to be one of the select few who haven’t heard, Aaron Judge is the best baseball player in the world. The only thing that can beat his power is his facial hair. Unfortunately, he’s also been known to strike out a bit, so if you’re looking for an even chance at having some fun, you might want to avoid the stadium on Sunday. (Of course, you could always just sit in the stands and wait for the glorious moments that come with the 500. It’s up to you.)
If you’re a fan of American football, you might be wondering what changes, if any, accompany the new year. While some franchises have changed their name to more accurately reflect the region they represent, the Indianapolis Colts have not. The team was originally founded in 1892 as the Indianapolis Indians, and their nickname, the Colts, was first used in 1927. You’ll still find fans from both teams showing up to support their favorite team each year, but now that the year is over, it’s time to focus on baseball. The Indianapolis Indians play in the International League, which is the top minor league in the country. The stadium they play in, Victory Field, is located in the nearby suburb of Carmel, so if you’re not a fan of professional sports, consider this option as well. (You’ll find both NFL and MLB teams play there this year.)
The bikers’ paradise is a road race that takes place each year in May, and it is one of the highlights of racing season. The road trip is long and often winds through small towns with big personalities. One of the coolest spots you can visit along the way is the Barretts Speedway in Vero Beach, Florida. Barretts is the birthplace of NASCAR and was originally built in the 1930s. If any track house symbolizes American automotive history, it’s Barretts. Each year, thousands of bikers make the trek to cheer on their favorites as they take on some of the greatest racing drivers from around the world. (If you’re a biker, this place is an absolute must. It’s called the birthplace of NASCAR for a reason.)
If you’re located in North County, you’ll have a completely different perspective on what Sunday means. You might not even recognize it anymore. That’s because the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is now the Indianapolis World Golf Hall of Fame Museum. They’ve actually expanded the footprint of the track, incorporating the Museum of Art and the White Castle restaurant into the complex. The Indy 500 is actually part of a major renovation project, and the venue opened its doors in 2018. The museum is dedicated to the glory of motorsport and the careers of some of the greatest racers in history. (It was previously known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.)
Even though this is technically a baseball article, it would be remiss not to mention that the Indianapolis Colts play in the NFL. Peyton Manning, the all-time leading quarterback in terms of passing yards, retired a few years ago, but the team has not forgotten about their most brilliant player. Every October 12th, they honor him with a logo patch on their jerseys. It’s not easy to find a logo that is more synonymous with success than the one worn by Manning during his playing career. (It also helps that every year the team gets a new set of uniforms.) If you’re a fan of football, this place is a must.
For decades, the Indianapolis Raceway Park was the place to be in Indianapolis. The track originally opened in 1914 and was owned by carmaker Benjamin O. Davis. Over the years, the track was expanded several times and became one of the largest venues of its kind in the country. Unfortunately, the property changed hands several times and was eventually purchased by the city in 2015. While the name of the track has changed, the tradition has continued as the Indianapolis Raceway Park is now simply known as The Meadows. The track still hosts several big race events each year, including the Indy Fuel Scavenger Hunt, the Indiana State Fair Scavenger Hunt, and the Indy Classic Horse Show. (It also recently got a new nickname, Rowdy Raceway.) If you’re looking for a place to take your family for an evening, consider the Speedway at The Meadows. (The track is actually located in Lawrence County, so if you’re from out of state, you’ll have to pay for parking.)
Each year in October, the community comes together for one of the most beloved events in sports, the Apple Cup. Teams from the Big Ten and the Pac-12 conference face off in what is essentially their championship game. The trophy that is awarded to the winners of the Apple Cup has become an iconic image in college football. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people come out to watch the battle between the two titans of the college football world. The game is played at Lucas Oil Stadium, one of the most stunning venues in the country. Before the game even starts, you’ll feel as though you’ve traveled to another planet, as scores of green trees are scattered around the pitch. (It’s truly breathtaking.) If you’re located in the Indianapolis area, be sure to check out the Apple Cup in October.
To wrap up this article, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. Back in the 1950s and ’60s, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was where you went for big celebrations. You’d watch your favorite drivers wheel their cars around the track, bringing them to life with their incredible talent. Today, the venue is still a hub of activity, but it’s changed from its original form. The most recognizable part of the Speedway is the famous “Indianapolis 500” logo, which still adorns the outside of the building. While many of the original structures have been demolished, the legacy lives on through the numerous race tracks that can be found throughout the city.