Kokomo Speedway is a historic American race track in Kokomo, Indiana. The 2.5-mile concrete oval was built in 1923 and operates every year in May. It is thought to be the home of the Indy 500, as well as other big-name cycling events.
The track is currently owned and operated by the Kokomo-Crestview Park District, which took over the speedway in 1988. The park district is a combination of public and private entities that work together to manage and maintain Kokomo Speedway for the enjoyment of the community. Like many other American race tracks, Kokomo Speedway has not always been a happy place for motorsport fans. Prior to 2018, the track was owned by Mike and Marian Ilitch, the son and daughter-in-law of businessman and former Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. The Ilitches sold the majority of their shares in the speedway to the city of Kokomo for $3.5 million in 2018, as part of an agreement to terminate a 99-year lease on the track.
The History Of Kokomo Speedway
Kokomo Speedway was originally built as a $75,000 investment by a local business man named E.W. Marr. Working with a partner named John T. Blalock, they started the Speedway Motors Company, which constructed and maintained the track. The first race held at the track was the Indiana Relays on May 6, 1923. Marr went on to become one of the co-founders of what would later become the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a relationship that the city of Kokomo is very proud of.
The two-mile, dirt-surfaced oval was built in the shape of a backwards ‘L’, with the two main straightaways being 9/10ths of a mile long. The entire track was designed with grandstands on three sides and a 7,500-seat capacity. A fourth grandstand was added in 1929, increasing the capacity to 10,000. In 1931, the original wooden grandstands were torn down and replaced with brick and concrete ones.
The Future Of Kokomo Speedway
The future of Kokomo Speedway looks incredibly bright. The track is currently undergoing a massive renovation and will reopen in early 2021. The grandstands have been completely replaced, and a brand new clubhouse, dugout tower, and press box have been built behind the stands.
The speedway also boasts a new paint scheme that was inspired by the design elements that make up the city of Kokomo. The track’s primary logo, the cobra, is modeled after the official state animal of Indiana. The track’s secondary logo, the thunderbird, is a depiction of the mythological bird that’s been the subject of several books by Neil Gaiman. Additionally, the track’s colors were chosen in a nod to Indiana’s nickname, “The Hoosier State.”
When complete, the renovations at Kokomo Speedway will bring with it an all-new format that was inspired by other historic tracks around the country. For instance, the entire backstretch will be enclosed, similar to the old Milwaukee Mile and the now-defunct Surfers’ Paradise.
The first event of the new season will be the Spring Championship on March 16th, 2021. A $150,000 to $200,000 payout is on the line for the winners of this prestigious race.
Where Can I Buy Tickets?
The best way to learn more about the amazing history of Kokomo Speedway is by visiting the track’s website, which you can find here. From the front page, you can click on any event and purchase tickets. You can choose from general admission, which costs $25 for adults and $15 for children, to reserved seating, which costs $45 for adults and $25 for children. If you live in the Kokomo area and are interested in attending a race at Kokomo Speedway, be sure to visit their website to purchase tickets well in advance.