What Fits Inside The Indianapolis Motor Speedway? [Expert Review!]

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the most recognizable sports stadiums in the world, known for its annual IndyCar race that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Established in 1915, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also home to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. The stadium is located in what was previously farmland, a few miles outside of downtown Indianapolis.

The grandstands and the track are the best parts of the stadium, the latter of which was originally designed by the great architectural firm of Hockmeyer and Young. The track measures a whopping 4.9 miles around, making it the longest commercially-built indoor-outdoor racetrack in the world. The stadium originally held 32,000 fans, but has since been expanded to accommodate over 100,000. In 2007, a new facility was built adjacent to the existing structure, increasing the capacity to over 160,000, making it the largest sports stadium in Indiana.

The Track Is The Heart Of The Facility

In contrast to the grandstands and the parking lot which are made up of wood and metal construction, the track itself is purely concrete. Concrete is much better suited for the hot and humid conditions that the Indianapolis climate can dish out. In addition, the surface of the track is covered with clay-based material, which enhances the racing experience by providing better traction.

The track is the focal point of the stadium, extending around its entire circumference. Since its construction in the early 1950s, the track has changed very little, keeping with the original look and providing a nostalgic trip down memory lane for those who grew up watching IndyCar racing.

Unlike traditional sports stadiums that host mainly American football and baseball, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway also accommodates other sports such as track and field, American football, and other automobile-related activities. In addition, the venue hosts music concerts and other cultural events, making it a major tourist attraction and drawing visitors from around the world.

The Score Is Still Big Picture-wise

Since the inception of the Indianapolis 500, the race’s premier event, the attendance mark has exceeded capacity, with a total of 714,528 spectators attending the race in 2016. That’s over 100,000 more spectators than the previous year, proving the race’s popularity endures. The Indianapolis 500 is the second-largest single-day sporting event in the United States (after the Super Bowl), and the largest spring sporting event, drawing worldwide attention.

The IndyCar race is run over a distance of three quarters of a mile, with the first two-thirds of the distance being inside the track and the latter being held on the surrounding street, allowing for spectacular driving and photogenic accidents.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also the site of the annual Brickyard Invitational, an invite-only tournament for some of the best golfers in the world. Presently, the event is held at the Edgewood Country Club and the Rangeside golf club, with future tournaments planned for the Old Colts Course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

What About All Those Little Buildings And Stands Around The Track?

In addition to the main stadium, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway also has three smaller structures located within the perimeter of the track. The first is the Miller Lite Pole, a structure that originally stood at the north end of the track but has since been relocated a few hundred yards to the south. The original Miller Lite Pole was a simple, yet functional, pole with concrete and metal walls that was designed to be a temporary structure, erected for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. At the time of the games, it was the world’s largest stand-alone, retractable-roofed structure.

The next small building you will come across is the Turn One Tower. You might recognize this one because of its appearances in television commercials for the Dodge brand. The tower’s presence at the IndyCar race is a nod to Ralph De Mars, who designed the first Dodge Challenger, and Ethelbert Wright, who designed the first Dodge Charger.

A third small building is the Canandaigua Monument, a concrete arch that stands at the southern exit of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This building was erected in 1968 as a memorial to Pan American Airways Flight 282, which crashed at the exact site in 1955, killing all 46 people on board. Unfortunately, the crash also marks the end of an era as it was the last aircraft to be manufactured with a door on the right side.

Those three buildings and the track are the most recognizable features of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The main structure was originally built for the 1936 Summer Olympics as a part of the original concept for the track, which was to be completely underground. The original design was very different, with a very low profile and only seven tracks, but the eventual design was much more in keeping with what we have today.

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