What Happened To I 70 Speedway? [Answered!]

Once the Mecca for motorsport, Indianapolis has been left in a bit of a state of shock following last week’s tragedy. As the home of the Indy 500 and countless other motorsport events, I 70 Speedway has seen its share of ups and downs.

The track was built in 1915 and was the first paved race track in the world. It hosted its first major race, the World War I era Indianapolis 500, in 1918. In the years since, it has undergone several renovations and changes that have left it with a unique look that sets it apart from other racing circuits. Today, I 70 Speedway is not associated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Instead, it’s a shell of its former self, hosting nothing more than youth leagues and special events. The track itself is now a historical monument.

Indy 500 Winners At I 70

Although it closed down in the 1960s, I 70 has still seen a number of famous drivers triumph here. Some of the most recognizable winners of the Indy 500 include:

  • Johnny Rutherford
  • A. J. Foyt
  • Eddie Sachs
  • Stu Grant
  • Jim Hurtubusch
  • Scott Goodyear
  • Phil Hill
  • Ray Bethel
  • Gio Pantfles

Many drivers have been killed or severely injured here, leading to several safety measures being implemented. For instance, the track now utilizes a safety fencing system and has warning signs posted around the track, reminding drivers that this is a dangerous place to race. In addition to the safety measures, the track now encourages all drivers to wear safety equipment such as helmets, goggles and fireproof suits.

Recovery From Tragedy

Last week’s tragedy was a somber reminder of the dangers of auto racing. A car plowed through the infield and struck several attendees, killing one and injuring several others. This was the second such incident at an IndyCar race in as many months.

However, just because a driver crosses the start/finish line at an IndyCar race doesn’t mean they’re automatically eligible for a spot on the grid for the following week’s event. After this week’s race, a number of teams, drivers and sponsors have pulled out, leaving open spots on the grid for the following week. The series has also implemented several safety measures in an effort to prevent tragedies of this kind. Teams will now have to demonstrate an understanding of these measures and how they affect their performances on the track.

The Changing Face Of Motorsport

It’s not just at IndyCar races that I 70 sees action these days. The historical monument hosts various local races throughout the year, including sprint cars, modified cars and even tractor pulls. It also has a 3.5 mile road course that hosts amateur and club races throughout the year. Many drivers, both amateur and professional, use this circuit to hone their skills before heading back out on the track. The track is well known for its high number of laps in comparison to other circuits. This enables drivers to get more practice before a big race.

In addition to local races, I 70 also sees action at various motorsport venues, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the aforementioned Indy 500 takes place each year. The track also hosts the annual Budweiser Shootout, an exhibition race that pits various models of Budweiser trucks against each other to see who can consume the most beer within a certain time limit. In total, I 70 has hosted almost 500 races and seen over 500 drivers break down and back on the track, not including the Budweiser events or the Indy 500. In the years since its last race, the World War I era field has grown to include some of the biggest names in motorsport. Today, the historical monument no longer hosts regular races, but continues to be a place where drivers can get a taste of what it’s like to compete at the highest level of motorsport.

Although it will take time for the Indianapolis community to heal, last week’s tragedy will not be forgotten. Several drivers, teams and sponsors have pulled out of this year’s IndyCar race, leaving open spots on the grid for the following week. In an effort to prevent tragedies of this kind, IndyCar has also implemented several safety measures at the track. Drivers now have to agree to adhere to the track limits and wear specified safety equipment. In the wake of this week’s tragedy, IndyCar and others have taken steps to ensure that such accidents are not repeated.

As the home of the Indy 500 and the legacy of I 70 Speedway, Indianapolis is the rightful place to be in the coming days, weeks and months. Although the city will never be the same, we will continue to have the opportunity to commemorate the incredible legacy of I 70.

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