Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is an automotive museum on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, United States, which houses the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.[2][3] It is intrinsically linked to the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400, but it also includes exhibits reflecting other forms of motorsports, passenger cars, and general automotive history. In 2006, it celebrated its 50th anniversary. The museum foundation possesses several former Indianapolis 500-winning cars, and they are regularly rotated onto the display floor exhibits.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.png
IMS HOF Museum.jpg
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is located in Indianapolis
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Location in Indianapolis
Former name
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum
EstablishedApril 7, 1956; 64 years ago (1956-04-07)
Location4790 West 16th Street
Speedway, Indiana 46222
Coordinates39°47′25″N 86°14′01″W / 39.790298°N 86.233597°W / 39.790298; -86.233597Coordinates: 39°47′25″N 86°14′01″W / 39.790298°N 86.233597°W / 39.790298; -86.233597
Visitors900,000 (2014)[1]
WebsiteOfficial website

The museum is independently owned and operated by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, Inc., a registered 501(c)(3) organization.[4] The museum dates back to 1956, and moved to the current building in 1976. It is located in the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway race course, and is open year-round, except on certain holidays including Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Image of the original Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum building
Entrance of the museum, 2015

The first museum at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was completed April 7, 1956[5][6][7] It was located on the southwest corner of the property, outside turn one of the famous oval, at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road. Its exhibits included Ray Harroun's 1911 Indy 500 winning car, and a handful of other vehicles. Karl Kizer became the first curator.[5] When it opened, it only had six cars.[5] Within a number of years, dozens of collector cars were being donated and acquired. It did not take long for management to realize that the building was of insufficient size.[5][7] According to Speedway publicist Al Bloemker, by 1961 the museum was seeing an average of 5,000 visitors per week (not including month of May crowds).[8]

In 1975, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway broke ground on a new 96,000-square-foot (8,900 m2) museum and administration building, located in the infield of the track.[6] The two-story white building was made of Wyoming quartz, and along with the museum, housed the Speedway's administrative offices, the ticket office, a gift shop, and the IMS photography department. It officially opened to the public on April 5, 1976,[5] coinciding with the year-long United States Bicentennial celebration.[6] It officially operated under the name Hall of Fame Museum, but was known colloquially as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. The original museum building outside turn one was kept intact and converted into additional office space.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. A plaque commemorating the Historic Landmark status for the Speedway is on display in the museum.[7]

In the summer of 1993, the original museum building outside of turn one was demolished. In its place a multi-million dollar administration building was erected.[9][10] The IMS administrative and ticket offices were moved out of the infield museum building, and relocated to the new admin office.

In 1993, the museum parking lot hosted the first "Indy 500 Expo" during race festivities, an outdoor interactive spectator exhibit. In 1995, it was expanded and renamed "Indy 500 FanFest". It was discontinued after 1997, but in recent years, smaller displays sponsored by Chevrolet have featured former pace cars and other exhibits.

In 2016, a revitalization and modernization project began to expand the museum's floor space and add interactive displays. In addition, in April 2016 the name of the museum was officially renamed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, and the mission was changed "to specifically honor achievement at, and outstanding contributions to, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."[11]


On display in the museum are about 75 cars at any given time.[5] With floor space totaling 37,500 square feet, only a small portion of the total collection can be displayed.[7] Frequently, cars are sent on loan for display at other museums, historical car shows, parades, and other activities.

The collection includes[5][6][7][12] over thirty Indianapolis 500 winning cars, various other Indy cars, and several racing cars from other disciplines. It also includes pace cars and passenger cars, with a particular focus on those manufactured in Indiana and by Indiana companies. Other items on display include trophies, plaques, and racing paraphernalia such as helmets, gloves, and driver's suits. Rotating exhibits include such elements as model cars, photographs, toys, and paintings. Displays include highlights of the history of Speedway ownership, the evolution of the track, and memorabilia from past years.

Indianapolis 500 winning carsEdit

Harroun's 1911-winning Marmon "Wasp" on display at the museum.
The winning cars of Arie Luyendyk (30), Jacques Villeneuve (27) and Eddie Cheever (51) on display at the museum in 2008.
A. J. Foyt's 1977 winning car

Other Indy carsEdit

1925 Miller Junior Eight on display at the museum.

Passenger carsEdit

Rubens Barrichello's SF02 on display at the museum.
Sid Collins exhibit
PPG Trophy for the Brickyard 400
Entrance to the basement at the IMS Museum.
North wing.

Other race carsEdit


Selected exhibitsEdit

  • Various paintings and photographs from noteworthy artists
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network exhibit, including antique radio equipment
  • The Tony Hulman theatre, showing a short film about the history of the race
  • An additional admission includes a bus tour of the track

Special exhibitsEdit

Most recently, the museum has offered two special exhibits each year, one running from early spring through mid- to late October, and another in the intervening months. In 2019, Hoosier Thunder: Indiana's Short Track Racing Heritage will end on April 21, and Mario Andretti: Icon, presented by Shell V-Power Nitrio + will open May first and run through mid-November. Starting in April 2019, there will be special displays of winning Team Penske and Andretti Autosports race cars.

  • 2011: The Ultimate Indianapolis 500 Winning Car Collection[12]
  • 2016: Team Penske 50th Anniversary exhibit[16]
  • 2016: Tony Stewart exhibit
  • 2017: A. J. Foyt exhibit[17] (40th Anniversary of Foyt's fourth Indy 500 victory)
  • 2017: Incredible Engines of the Indianapolis 500 and 50th Anniversary of the Camaro Pace Car
  • 2018: The Amazing Unsers: celebrating Al Unser, Bobby Unser, Al Unser Jr., and the rest of the Unser racing family.
  • 2018: Hoosier Thunder: Indiana's Short Track Racing Heritage[18]


Due to the size of the collection, and space constraints on the display floor, a large portion of the collection is in storage. Some cars are rotated into display, while others remain in storage permanently, out of public view. The museum's storage areas are strictly off-limits to the public, and admittance is by invitation only. The contents of the stored collection has become a source of folklore and mystique, as it includes some extremely rare vehicles that few visitors are allowed to see, and photography is strictly forbidden.

North HallEdit

In 2016, the museum display floor was expanded by 7,500 square feet after Speedway staff offices were relocated to another building.[19] The new North Hall is used to display additional cars, and offers a view of a portion of the Speedway road course.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of FameEdit

The Auto Racing Hall of Fame

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame,[2] formerly known as the Auto Racing Hall of Fame,[3] dates back to 1952. It was established and supported by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and Ford Foundation.[5] It was originally the brainchild of Tony Hulman[5] who had expressed interest in starting a racing hall of fame shortly after he purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1946.[5] As of 2020, there have been 157 inductees enshrined into the hall.

AAA dropped out of racing entirely in 1955. After being established for only three years, and after only a handful of historical, "veterans committee" inductees, the hall of fame went dormant. A year later, the first Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum opened its doors. In 1961, Hulman acquired and revived the hall of fame,[5] and incorporated it into the Speedway's museum organization.

Candidates can be nominated after at least twenty years have elapsed from the first date of active participation in activities involved with professional-level auto racing. Inductees are elected by a panel of roughly 150 members[3] consisting of racing officials, living hall of fame members, historians, and select media representatives. In 2018, the scope of the Hall of Fame was clarified and defined as encompassing participants in all major racing events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, Formula One (2000-2007), and major AMA-sanctioned motorcycle racing (such as MotoGP and MotoAmerica). Subsequent to that, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart became the first drivers inducted whose accomplishments were primarily or exclusively attributed to a race other than the Indianapolis 500 (both were Brickyard 400 winners).

Voting is held annually and inductees typically are announced on or around Founders Day (March 20), the date on which the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was incorporated in 1909. The new members are formally inducted in May, a few days before the Indianapolis 500 race, during a special ceremony. There is no set number of inductees for each year, and the number varies annually.

On February 19, 2020, the Speedway named Janet Guthrie and Dale Earnhardt Sr. to the 2020 class.[20] However, the 2020 induction ceremony was cancelled on July 21, 2020. Guthrie and Earnhardt will honored alongside the 2021 class.[21]

Inductees – DriversEdit

Inductees – ContributorsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "2016 Book of Lists". Indianapolis Business Journal. p. 176. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Brown, Alex (March 20, 2018). "IMS Hall of Fame to Add Gordon, Stewart". Inside Indiana Business. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Kelly, Paul (2010-04-28). "Davidson, Travers, Coon Comprise 2010 Class For Auto Racing Hall". IMS LLC. Retrieved 2010-04-29.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Official Blog". Archived from the original on 2017-09-05. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k ."1996 Indianapolis 500 Official Program". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 1996-05-26.
  6. ^ a b c d "Hall of Fame Museum". Archived from the original on 2008-03-28. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Museum displays auto racing history". 2007-05-07. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  8. ^ Fred Agabashian 1961 Interviews
  9. ^ Smulevitz, Howard M. (June 29, 1993). "Speedway is adding new office building (Part 1)". The Indianapolis Star. p. 27. Retrieved 2018-02-15 – via 
  10. ^ Smulevitz, Howard M. (June 29, 1993). "Speedway is adding new office building (Part 2)". The Indianapolis Star. p. 29. Retrieved 2018-02-15 – via 
  11. ^ "2020 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Indy 500 Oldtimers Dinner Canceled". Indy Racing Museum. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  12. ^ a b Davidson, Donald; Loscar, Mary Ellen; Bireley, Ellen; Shunck, Steve (2011), The Ultimate Indianapolis 500 Winning Car Collection, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum: Weibel Design Inc. & Brad Hoffner Designs Inc.
  13. ^ Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. IN-112, "1938 Maserati 8.C.T.F., Indianapolis, Marion County, IN", 37 photos, 4 color transparencies, 23 data pages, 2 photo caption pages
  14. ^ a b c "Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum Sends Three Cars to Darlington Historic Racing Festival". 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
  15. ^ "Indy 500 Pace Car Reunion Bringing Classic Autos To IMS This Weekend". 2006-05-18. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
  16. ^ "Team Penske's 50th Anniversary Exhibit Featured at IMS". Team Penske. February 22, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  17. ^ Tamborello, Joe (March 29, 2017). "IMS Museum to honor A.J. Foyt with major exhibit". USA Today. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  18. ^ "IMS Museum Exhibit Hoosier Thunder Indianas Short Track Heritage Opens Nov 8". IMS Museum. October 12, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  19. ^ Speedway museum wants to double in size
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ "2020 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Indy 500 Oldtimers Dinner Canceled". Indy Racing Museum. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  22. ^ Meyer, Leonard To Be Inducted Into Auto Racing Hall Of Fame

External linksEdit