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Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Updated on August 19, 2014

A Visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

One dreary March afternoon, I paid a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. If you love auto racing, history, or cars, then it's a must see if you're ever in proximity to Indianapolis, Indiana. The museum is located in Speedway, Indiana on the west side of Indianapolis. It's on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where the 500 mile race has been held since 1911.

I'll share some of my photos and a bit of information about the museum here.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Visitor Information

The museum of course, takes a look at the history of the Indianapolis 500 mile race and auto racing in general. The museum is open every day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November). The entrance fee is $5 for adults and $3 for kids 6-15. For an additional fee, visitors can also tour the track and even the grounds. You can find more information about that here.

The museum and the track itself are easily located on the west side of the city. Visitors can take the Crawfordsville Road exit, eastward off of the 465 loop. (Going east from the airport, and then north on 465 to Crawfordsville Road) I've included a map lower on the page.

There are gift shops located in the same building with the museum where visitors can find posters, artwork, clothing, models, calendars, and a variety of other items that commemorate the race, the cars, and the drivers. For visitors who are more serious about racing, visiting the track during the month of May offers a chance to see practice and qualifying, meet the drivers, tour the garage area, and so forth.

Some History About the Track and the Race

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was founded in 1909 by Carl Fisher and the first race was held in 1911. Racing was halted during World War II, and the track fell into disrepair. It was purchased and renovated by Anton Hulman Jr, and racing began again in 1946. The track is 2 and half miles long. It was first a dirt track, then paved with bricks and later, asphalt. Today, a remnant remains of the bricked surface. At the start line is a yard of bricks, thus the name for the NASCAR race that occurs at the IMS each summer, "The Brickyard 400".

The first structures were of course wooden, and you'll see a bit of this recreated within the museum. What looks like wooden barn doors actually represent the wooden garage doors from the first half of the 1900's.

The Indianapolis 500 mile race has been held every Memorial Day since 1946. Since then additional races have been added. Formula One (F1) cars saw action at the track between 2000 and 2007. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series began racing there in the 1990's . Now MotoGP bikes race there annually as well.

What You'll Find at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

You'll find a lot of Indy Cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, but you'll find other items of interest as well.

When you enter the building, the entire west side is devoted specifically to Indy Cars and winning Indy drivers. Most of the cars are past winners from the very first one in 1911 to present day. Due to space limitations, not every winner is represented, but like all of the museum, these items are rotated in and out, so what you see on any given visit may differ a bit as time passes. You may also see racing cars from some of Indy's most famous winners. Perhaps a sprint car that AJ Foyt drove or something similar. Portraits of drivers and other individual critical do the history of the track are here to view as well. Announcers, reporters, owners, and other are represented. There are plenty of trophy displays, photographs, and other memorabilia.

In the eastern half of the building you'll find more auto racing history as well as general automotive history. There are racing bikes (motorcycles), a few NASCAR models, sports racing cars, and Formula One cars. There are a variety of foreign manufactured cars that have raced at Indy over the years. In addition, there is smattering of pre-World War II cars.

It's on the far eastern wall of this section of the museum that you'll find portraits of every Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner, in sequence.

Below I will share a few of the pictures I took during my March 2010 visit. There are 5 or 6 slide shows below, timed at 10 seconds per photo. In other words, if you wait, the photo will change.

At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum - Indy Car Pictures (And More) Through the Years

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Indy cars aren't the only ones represented at the Museum. This is a sprint car.This is a former Monza winner.This is the Coyote Ford that AJ won in at Indy in 1967. His third of four wins.Here is a roadster from the 1960's. You can see the driveshaft passing to the left of the driver.This is the Borg-Warner trophy. Winners of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race receive a baby Borg.
Indy cars aren't the only ones represented at the Museum. This is a sprint car.
Indy cars aren't the only ones represented at the Museum. This is a sprint car.
This is a former Monza winner.
This is a former Monza winner.
This is the Coyote Ford that AJ won in at Indy in 1967. His third of four wins.
This is the Coyote Ford that AJ won in at Indy in 1967. His third of four wins.
Here is a roadster from the 1960's. You can see the driveshaft passing to the left of the driver.
Here is a roadster from the 1960's. You can see the driveshaft passing to the left of the driver.
This is the Borg-Warner trophy. Winners of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race receive a baby Borg.
This is the Borg-Warner trophy. Winners of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race receive a baby Borg.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is AJ Foyt's 1967 Indianapolis 500 winner.  It's a Coyote Ford.This is another of AJ Foyt's Indy winners.This is the winner of the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 1911. It's a Marmon-Wasp driven by Ray Harroun. It featured the first known rearview mirror and saved weight by eliminating the riding mechanic. Marmon was a car manufacturer in IndianapolThis is Danica Patrick's rookie year car at Indy. She placed fourth in the race.
This is AJ Foyt's 1967 Indianapolis 500 winner.  It's a Coyote Ford.
This is AJ Foyt's 1967 Indianapolis 500 winner. It's a Coyote Ford.
This is another of AJ Foyt's Indy winners.
This is another of AJ Foyt's Indy winners.
This is the winner of the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 1911. It's a Marmon-Wasp driven by Ray Harroun. It featured the first known rearview mirror and saved weight by eliminating the riding mechanic. Marmon was a car manufacturer in Indianapol
This is the winner of the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 1911. It's a Marmon-Wasp driven by Ray Harroun. It featured the first known rearview mirror and saved weight by eliminating the riding mechanic. Marmon was a car manufacturer in Indianapol
This is Danica Patrick's rookie year car at Indy. She placed fourth in the race.
This is Danica Patrick's rookie year car at Indy. She placed fourth in the race.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is "Calhoun", driven by Parnelli Jones and is the 1963 winner.This is an Eagle-Offy. Bobby Unser won in 1968 with this. Paul Newman's car in the movie "Winning" was based on this car.Another Eagle-Offy. (Offenhauser engine) Gordon Johncock drove this for the win in 1973.This is a March-Cosworth. It's Tom Sneva's 1983 winner.This is a Reynard. Jacques Villeneuve drove this for the win in 1995.This is Graham Hill's Lotus turbine in 1968. It was not the winner.This is was a Corvette concept car of it's day.
This is "Calhoun", driven by Parnelli Jones and is the 1963 winner.
This is "Calhoun", driven by Parnelli Jones and is the 1963 winner.
This is an Eagle-Offy. Bobby Unser won in 1968 with this. Paul Newman's car in the movie "Winning" was based on this car.
This is an Eagle-Offy. Bobby Unser won in 1968 with this. Paul Newman's car in the movie "Winning" was based on this car.
Another Eagle-Offy. (Offenhauser engine) Gordon Johncock drove this for the win in 1973.
Another Eagle-Offy. (Offenhauser engine) Gordon Johncock drove this for the win in 1973.
This is a March-Cosworth. It's Tom Sneva's 1983 winner.
This is a March-Cosworth. It's Tom Sneva's 1983 winner.
This is a Reynard. Jacques Villeneuve drove this for the win in 1995.
This is a Reynard. Jacques Villeneuve drove this for the win in 1995.
This is Graham Hill's Lotus turbine in 1968. It was not the winner.
This is Graham Hill's Lotus turbine in 1968. It was not the winner.
This is was a Corvette concept car of it's day.
This is was a Corvette concept car of it's day.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is a Porsche 935 sports racing car.This is a Harley Davidson land speed record holder. It's a bike, the wheels you see are just part of a cart/stand.A look at the Pagoda/tower. Timing and scoring occur here.
This is a Porsche 935 sports racing car.
This is a Porsche 935 sports racing car.
This is a Harley Davidson land speed record holder. It's a bike, the wheels you see are just part of a cart/stand.
This is a Harley Davidson land speed record holder. It's a bike, the wheels you see are just part of a cart/stand.
A look at the Pagoda/tower. Timing and scoring occur here.
A look at the Pagoda/tower. Timing and scoring occur here.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Another view of Bobby Unser's 1968 winner.This is Mario Andretti's 1968 winner. It's a Hawk-Ford, which he used after crashing his primary car in practice.This is a McLaren-Offy which was driven by Mark Donohue in 1972 for the win.This is a Chaparral. It was Johnny Rutherford's 1980 winner. It was the first Indy car with ground effects to win.This is Arie Luyendyk's winning car, a Lola Chevy, from 1990.This is a Lotus powered by Ford. It's from Jim Clark's second place finish in 1963.
Another view of Bobby Unser's 1968 winner.
Another view of Bobby Unser's 1968 winner.
This is Mario Andretti's 1968 winner. It's a Hawk-Ford, which he used after crashing his primary car in practice.
This is Mario Andretti's 1968 winner. It's a Hawk-Ford, which he used after crashing his primary car in practice.
This is a McLaren-Offy which was driven by Mark Donohue in 1972 for the win.
This is a McLaren-Offy which was driven by Mark Donohue in 1972 for the win.
This is a Chaparral. It was Johnny Rutherford's 1980 winner. It was the first Indy car with ground effects to win.
This is a Chaparral. It was Johnny Rutherford's 1980 winner. It was the first Indy car with ground effects to win.
This is Arie Luyendyk's winning car, a Lola Chevy, from 1990.
This is Arie Luyendyk's winning car, a Lola Chevy, from 1990.
This is a Lotus powered by Ford. It's from Jim Clark's second place finish in 1963.
This is a Lotus powered by Ford. It's from Jim Clark's second place finish in 1963.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is Jimmy Clark's 1965 winning Lotus Ford.This is a Mercedes racing car.This is one of AJ Foyt's former sports racing cars.This is a "Birdcage" Maserati, a sports racing car.
This is Jimmy Clark's 1965 winning Lotus Ford.
This is Jimmy Clark's 1965 winning Lotus Ford.
This is a Mercedes racing car.
This is a Mercedes racing car.
This is one of AJ Foyt's former sports racing cars.
This is one of AJ Foyt's former sports racing cars.
This is a "Birdcage" Maserati, a sports racing car.
This is a "Birdcage" Maserati, a sports racing car.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here's Tony Stewart's Brickyard 400 winner from 2005.This is a Benetton Ford of the type driven by Michael Schumaker in the mid 90's
Here's Tony Stewart's Brickyard 400 winner from 2005.
Here's Tony Stewart's Brickyard 400 winner from 2005.
This is a Benetton Ford of the type driven by Michael Schumaker in the mid 90's
This is a Benetton Ford of the type driven by Michael Schumaker in the mid 90's

Find the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

A markerIndianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum -
4790 West 16th Street, Indianapolis Indiana
get directions

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    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      Seeing this museum is on my 'bucket list.' I've been to the race, to qualifications, and carb day, but have never made it to the museum.

      Thank you for this lens. I really enjoyed all your pictures.

      Sadlly, the world lost Tom Carnegie this past week. I've written a lens in tribute to the Voice of the Indy 500... and am lensrolling this lens to it.

      Thank you, again.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      looks like an interesting place to visit