Lucas Oil Raceway
Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly Indianapolis Raceway Park and O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis) is an auto racing facility in Brownsburg, Indiana, United States, about 10 miles west of Downtown Indianapolis. It includes a 0.686-mile (1.104 km) oval track, a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) road course (which has fallen into disrepair and is no longer used), and a 4,400-foot (1,300 m) drag strip which is among the premier drag racing venues in the world.
|Owner||National Hot Rod Association|
|Operator||National Hot Rod Association|
|Former names||Indianapolis Raceway Park (1960–2005), O'Reilly Raceway Park (2006–2010)|
|Major events||United States Auto Club|
National Hot Rod Association
ARCA Racing Series
Pro Mazda Championship
U.S. F2000 National Championship
|Length||0.686 mi (1.1 km)|
|Race lap record||0:18.289 (Mike McVetta, , 2020, Super Modified)|
|Race lap record||0:4.486 (Tony Schumacher, Don Schumacher Racing, 2006, NHRA Top Fuel)|
|Length||2.5 mi (4.0 km)|
|Race lap record||1:24.771 (Larry Connor, Ralt RT41, 2000, Formula Atlantic)|
In 1958, 15 Indianapolis-area businessmen and racing professionals led by Tom Binford, Frank Dickie, Rodger Ward, and Howard Fieber invested $5,000 each to fund the development of a 267-acre (108 ha) farm tract into a recreational sporting complex that would focus on auto racing. The original intention was to create a 15-turn, 2.5-mile (4.0 km) road course, but as an insurance measure against economic problems, the investment group decided to incorporate a quarter-mile drag strip into the long straightaway of the 2.5-mile (4.0 km) road course design. Constructed with assistance from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the drag strip was the first to be completed, with the facility's first event held on the strip in the fall of 1960. The facility was called Indianapolis Raceway Park. A year later, a 0.686-mile (1.104 km) paved oval was completed to finish off the track capabilities of the complex. The oval track was used as-is until an overall track renovation was completed in 1988 in order to increase speed on the track.
The premier feature of Lucas Oil Raceway is a 4,400-foot (1,300 m) long drag strip. The single NHRA event held at the facility is the oldest and most prestigious of the series. The NHRA U.S. Nationals, held every year during the Labor Day weekend, is the only event on the NHRA schedule with final eliminations scheduled on a Monday. An all-star style race, called the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, is held for the two nitro divisions (Top Fuel on Saturday and Funny Car on Sunday). The winners in each division win $100,000 US, while the race itself has the largest purse of any NHRA sanctioned event at over $250,000 US. The drag strip has held the event every year since 1961, when the race was moved from Detroit.
USAC Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midget Car races are held on the oval, along with other events suited to a shorter track. Raceway Park also traditionally stages an extensive program on the Saturday nights of major races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend USAC Midget race called the "Night before the 500". The event is held the night before the Indianapolis 500 event at IMS, serving as something of an unofficial preliminary event to the far more famous one. Similarly, the NASCAR Busch Series Kroger 200 was given a "Night before the 400" status; a Truck Series race was added to the weekend in 1995. When Formula One raced at IMS, midget, sprint, and stock car races were held at ORP in the "Night Before F1" meets, including the 2002 and 2003 USGP races that featured a twin 25-lap midget format, with a full inversion, and the winner winning $50,000 if they could win both features.
The 2.5-mile (4.0 km), 15-turn road course, was used by the Indianapolis area Sports Car Club of America road racing events. The initial Indianapolis Raceway Park road race was an SCCA event held in 1961. In 1965, rookie driver Mario Andretti won his first Indy car race on the road course, in an event which was historic in that it was the first time in modern history that American Indy cars raced on a road circuit. For the next six years, the road course hosted the Hoosier Grand Prix, a round of the USAC National Championship Series, the same series that included the Indianapolis 500, as well as the USAC Stock Car series. Notably, in the 1969 movie Winning, Paul Newman's character, Frank Capua, competes in a USAC Stock Car event on the road course.
After an insurance investigation of the pit out opening for the road course, which is located along the left lane wall of the drag strip, the insurance carrier demanded the pit out be closed off with a permanent concrete wall. This effectively meant closing the road course for competition purposes, as there is no other area on the current track layout suitable to relocate a viable pit lane. However, club racing and private testing used a section of track that runs parallel to the backstretch of the oval (Turns 6–8) as a makeshift pit, although enough section of the return road for the drag strip could also be used if realigned. The last SCCA club road race was held in 2007. The road course surface is in disrepair and very bumpy, and would need improvement to be of use again. There are plans to redesign and renovate the road course, but track officials say it is a long term goal.
In 2012, it was announced that the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Lucas Oil Raceway would move to Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the Indiana 250 to replace the Kroger 200, and that it would be joined by Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge races under the banner "Super Weekend at the Brickyard". The Camping World Truck Series event was replaced with a new event at Eldora Speedway. As a result, the ARCA Racing Series became the lone national stock car racing series to sanction a race at the track, running its own 200-lap event.
- SCCA Formula Super Vee Qualifying: Mark Smith, 19.581 sec. = 126.122 mph (202.974 km/h), May 27, 1989
- Pro Mazda Championship Qualifying: Matthew Brabham, 19.744 sec. = 125.081 mph (201.298 km/h), May 25, 2013
- USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series Qualifying: Jason Leffler, 20.298 sec. = 121.667 mph (195.804 km/h), May 20, 2000
- U.S. F2000 National Championship Qualifying: Bryan Sellers, 21.016, 117.510 mph (189.114 km/h), May 25, 2002
- ARCA/CRA Super Series Qualifying: Evan Jackson, 21.284, 116.031 mph (186.734 km/h), September 22, 2007
- NASCAR XFINITY Series Qualifying: David Green, 21.766 sec. = 113.462 mph (182.599 km/h), August 5, 1994
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying: Joe Ruttman, 22.081 sec. = 111.843 mph (179.994 km/h), August 3, 2000
- ARCA Racing Series Qualifying: Ty Gibbs, 21.820 sec. = 113.181 mph (182.147 km/h), October 10, 2019
- Pro Mazda Championship Race: Matthew Brabham, 122.415 mph (197.008 km/h), May 25, 2013
- USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series Race: Mike Bliss, 115.326 mph (185.599 km/h), May 12, 2001 (100 laps)
- U.S. F2000 National Championship Race: Bryan Sellers, 116.854 mph (188.058 km/h), May 25, 2002
- NASCAR Nationwide Series Race: Jimmy Hensley, 96.923 mph (155.982 km/h), June 22, 1985
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race: Greg Biffle, 88.704 mph (142.755 km/h), August 5, 1999
- ARCA Racing Series Race: Brandon Jones, 88.321 mph (142.139 km/h), July 25, 2014
2.5-mile road courseEdit
- SCCA Formula Atlantic Race: Larry Connor, Ralt RT41, 1:24.529 sec. = 106.472 mph (171.350 km/h), July 1, 2000
- SCCA Formula Continental Race: Jeff Shafer, Nemesis, 1:29.771 sec. = 100.255 mph (161.345 km/h), July 1, 1997
- SCCA A Sports Racer Race: Jerry Hansen, Lola T333, 1:25.880 sec. = 104.797 mph (168.654 km/h), May 1, 1980
- SCCA C Sports Racer Race: Tony Coniewski, Swift, 1:27.130 sec. = 103.294 mph (166.236 km/h), July 4, 2004
- NHRA – DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals (since 1961)
- ARCA Menards Series – Calypso Lemonade 200(1983-1985, 2011-2012, 2014-)
- USAC Silver Crown Series - Dave Steele Carb Night Classic (since 2015)
- Pro Mazda Championship (2010-2016, 2018-)
- U.S. F2000 National Championship (2010-2016, 2018-)
- Formula Drift (2021-)
- Hoosier Grand Prix – USAC RRC, USAC National Championship, IMSA GT (1961–1973)
- NASCAR Nationwide Series – Kroger 200 (1982–2011)
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (formerly Craftsman Truck Series) – AAA Insurance 200 (1995–2011)
- NASCAR Busch North Series (1987–1990)
- NASCAR Winston Modified Tour (1988–1989)
- Fast Masters (1993)
- USAC P1 Insurance National Midget Championship - Night before the 500 – (1969-1971, 1974-2014) - Midgets were swapped with Silver Crown cars beginning in 2015.
- ASA National Tour (1998–2004)
- Hooters Pro Cup Series (2001–2002, 2004–2006)
- Phillips, David (June 15, 1989). "Quick Reactions". On Track Auto Racing Magazine: 24.
- "Lucas Oil Raceway undergoing $10 million-plus renovation". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2018-12-05.
- "Lucas Oil Raceway loses its NASCAR events in 2012". Indianapolis Star. July 7, 2011. Archived from the original on August 1, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
- "SCCA Track Records, O'Reilly Raceway Park" (PDF). Sports Car Club of America. July 7, 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 1, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.