Located in southern Indiana, just a few miles from Louisville, Kentucky, you’ll find Lucas Oil Speedway. The half-mile track was built in 1969 and named after the company founded by American automotive pioneer, John Henry Lucas.
Most people aren’t familiar with the name John Henry Lucas, but he was quite the motorsport competitor during the first half of the 20th century. He entered the Indianapolis 500 four times and actually finished third once. Unfortunately, due to World War II, he never got the title of champion.
One of the things that makes Lucas Oil Speedway unique is the fact that it is the only half-mile track in North America designed specifically for motorcycles. The track regularly hosts the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Car Series and the Kaulig Racing Series, which are both open to vehicles of all makes and models. If you love racing, this is the place to be!
While the track is open to all, the vast majority of races are organized around the motorcycle classes. These are the classes that are raced at other North American oval tracks:
- Classic (Traditional)
- Superstock W
- Pike Racing
- Road Racing
- Snowmobile Racing
There is also an Explorer class that is only open to off-road vehicles. However, the vast majority of races at Lucas Oil Speedway are organized around the motorcycle classes listed above. This is due to the fact that the track is primarily used by local motorcyclists who also happen to be some of the best amateur racers in the country. It is said that some of the greats of past eras such as Bonham Carter, Fred Lorenzen and Eddie Sachs had their roots at this track.
A Brief History Of Lucas Oil Speedway
When it comes to historic motorsport venues, few places are as unique or as iconic as Lucas Oil Speedway. The track was originally built in the 1940s as a way for the military to get some fun in the summertime. However, it didn’t register as a city landmark until 1984, which is quite the turnaround. In fact, the city granted the track the status of protected monument in 2014.
The track’s first season was in 1948 and it remained an all-purpose facility until the late 1960s, when it was converted into a half-mile dirt track for motorcycles and off-road vehicles. In order to accommodate the influx of racers, more tracks were paved in the surrounding area. This is how Lucas Oil Speedway came to be. The track was named after American automotive pioneer and philanthropist, John Henry Lucas, who funded much of the early development. He believed that a local dirt track would serve as a vital connection to the community, encouraging people to get out and about and enjoy life more. This was especially important during the 1940s and 1950s, when cars were a rare sight on the streets and people spent a lot of time inside, playing cards and knitting.
In addition to being a motorsport venue, much of Lucas Oil Speedway’s charm comes from the fact that it is a working-class track. Although it has been preserved and is still used for motorsport today, the fact remains that it was initially designed for cars that were built for everyday use. It’s not uncommon to see a hunchback, big wheels and a whole lot of mud on the sides of the track. This is precisely what John Henry Lucas had in mind when he began developing the track. It is also home to the annual Lucas Oil Derby, which is arguably the biggest point-to-point motorcycle race in the country. This event, which is organized around the prestigious Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Car Series, was first held in 1969 and it went on to become an important part of the track’s identity. It’s not unusual to see 50-60 entries in this race, which runs on the third Sunday of May. Interestingly, the event is completely open to any motorcyclist who is 18 years of age or older. This is due to the fact that the organizers want to acknowledge the fact that the track was originally founded by bikes, for bikes. There are many stories of how the event grew from humble beginnings to what it is today. However, the bottom line is that the race and the track have become synonymous.
Lucas Oil Speedway is one of the most historic tracks in North America and it continues to this day to play an important part in the community. The track is still owned by the family that John Henry Lucas founded more than 70 years ago and it continues to operate as a motorsport and community center. This is truly an amazing story that has lasted for more than seven decades and it’s a testament to the power of ideas and their willingness to stand the test of time. At a time when so many venues have been shut down due to lack of interest, this track continues to thrive.
How To Get To Lucas Oil Speedway
You’ll find a detailed map and directions on how to get to Lucas Oil Speedway at the track’s website. However, for those of you who are driving, you’ll find that it is located in southern Indiana, just a few miles from Louisville, Kentucky. From there, it’s only a short drive to the track. In fact, it shouldn’t take more than an hour or two. This is assuming that you aren’t stopped along the way by construction or traffic jams. There aren’t any good shortcuts to getting there. It seems like every time you think you’re getting somewhere fast, you’d end up going a different way. This is the nature of living in a rural area, surrounded by farm land. When you get there, don’t forget to put your foot down and enjoy the drive. The wind in your hair and the sun on your face will make the trip more memorable.
The Layout Of Lucas Oil Speedway
When you get out of your car and onto the track, you’ll notice that it is quite a bit different from your average oval. This is mostly due to the fact that the track is very close to being a square. As you can see on the map above, the corners are very sharp, which makes for quite a bit of passing and aggressive driving. It’s not uncommon to see cars more than once around the entire track, as there are so many turns and the surface is relatively uncongested. Typically, the track will measure 525 feet long and 200 feet wide. However, this can vary from year to year, depending on how the track is graded and prepared. The track’s surface is clay in the middle and turns to dust over time, due to all of the traffic and hot outdoor activity. This is one of the main reasons that this vintage track is only half a mile long. The asphalt will start to deteriorate after five or six years and the entire surface needs to be resurfaced. This is a very expensive and labor-intensive process, which they are unable to do, due to lack of money and manpower. As a result, many of the track’s features have gone undeveloped, due to the costs. This is why, in some ways, the track is a bit like a time capsule, preserving the original cars and their owners that raced there, back in the day.
The Atmosphere At Lucas Oil Speedway
There isn’t much that you need to know about the atmosphere at Lucas Oil Speedway, except that it’s extremely rustic and working class. The track plays host to a wide variety of motorcars and motorcycles from the 40s, 50s and 60s and they are the types of cars and bikes that you might find on the street. There is also a lot of support for local and amateur drivers. Many of the racers are there for a day or more, camping out in their vehicles and hanging around, waiting for the next race to begin. In addition to being a great place to race, it also serves as a great place to socialize and meet new people. There are often cookouts and other types of outdoor activities that take place on hot summer days and it gets busy during the summer months. However, it never really hits peak season until a few days before the season opener. In some ways, this track’s setting is what makes it so special. Located just a few miles from downtown Louisville, it helps give you a different perspective on life, as you wouldn’t usually see cars and trucks in the city. This was a common practice back in the day, when many tracks were located in rural areas, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.