Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Photo: IMS Archives

IMS Museum to reveal A.J. Foyt exhibit in April

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It’s been 40 years since A.J. Foyt won his fourth and final Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1977. Perfect timing, then, for a special Foyt exhibit to grace the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will premiere next month.

The release from the museum is below:

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of his record-setting fourth Indianapolis 500 win, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is proud to present a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit honoring auto racing icon A.J. Foyt, opening April 14.

A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibition, presented by ABC Supply is a limited-run celebration that traces the superstar’s rise from the dirt tracks of Texas to the pinnacle of auto racing history.

Nearly three dozen cars that Foyt drove in competition will be on display, including all four of his Indianapolis 500 winning machines, the 1961 Bowes Seal Fast Special, 1964 & 1967 Sheraton-Thompson Specials, and the 1977 Gilmore Coyote.

Photo: IMS Archives

“Everyone knows that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite track and that people wouldn’t know me if it weren’t for the Indy 500, but to have the Museum put on this exhibit there, well I feel truly honored,” said the legendary Foyt. “This exhibit will give people a chance to see my winning Indy cars but also some of the other race cars I drove and won in over the years.”

In addition to several of Foyt’s IndyCars, many incredible machines representing Foyt’s career in NASCAR, USAC and road racing will be on display, many for the first time, and visitors will also have the chance to see rare memorabilia from Foyt’s personal collection.

“Based on the stuff we shipped to Indy, I think the Museum has a lot of personal memorabilia and photos that their visitors will like seeing” Foyt said. “I haven’t seen some of the cars in many, many years so to be truthful, I’m looking forward to the exhibit too!”

“A.J. Foyt is perhaps the most iconic driver in the 108-year history of the Brickyard” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Director & Curator Ellen Bireley. “We are proud to honor this incredible champion with an exhibit of memories and memorabilia that pays tribute to one of the most diverse and successful careers in auto racing history.”

A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibition is presented by ABC Supply, with additional support from Chevrolet and Al-Fe Heat Treating. The exhibit runs until October 31.

First IndyCar test on IMS oval moved up to Friday

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For the first time in 2017, the sounds of the Verizon IndyCar Series cars will be live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. And it will occur a day earlier than planned.

A test originally scheduled for Saturday on the 2.5-mile oval will now occur Friday owing to impending poor weather on Saturday. This test, which is both a Honda and team test, will come only three days after the full field of competitors ran at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham.

Those scheduled to test on Friday includes this group of competitors:

  • Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball of Chip Ganassi Racing
  • James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
  • Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
  • Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power of Team Penske

Fans can watch the test for free from the Turn 2 mounds.

“The sweet sound of engines this Friday on the IMS oval will be yet another sign that the Month of May is right around the corner,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said in a release. “The weather forecast looks warm for Friday, so we encourage fans to come to the track to enjoy seeing and hearing the cars.”

This bit of news takes IMS back on track after a couple noteworthy items of late off-track:

The “Behind the Bricks” series has premiered, featuring last year’s champion Alexander Rossi. Here’s a link to that:

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 29: Alexander Rossi of the United States pumps his fist as he crosses the finish line to win the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 29, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in 2016 was nominated for the Sports Event of the Year award to be presented at the 10th annual Sports Business Awards, the leading recognition for the North American sports industry.

Sports industry leaders will gather Wednesday evening, May 24 at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square for the ceremony, presented by Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal. This year’s event features 87 nominees across 17 categories.

“The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil was an incredible success that created lifelong memories for our fans and generated significant momentum for the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles said. “We’re grateful to the SportsBusiness Journal for its recognition of the hard work that went into years of planning and execution for this once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Indianapolis 500 champions have quenched their thirst in Victory Lane with a bottle of milk since 1936, and a growing number of celebrities and corporate and civic leaders are sharing that same winning feeling through the #101Bottles program leading into the 101st Running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is delivering one commemorative bottle of milk per day to prominent individuals for 101 days leading up to Race Day for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi started the program Feb. 16 by presenting a milk bottle to Cummins, Inc. CEO Tom Linebarger at the Cummins Distribution Headquarters in downtown Indianapolis after the ticket for this year’s race was unveiled at the facility.

“This is a great way to bring the Indy 500 countdown closer to both racing fans across the nation and our community in Central Indiana,” said Allison Melangton, senior vice president, events, Hulman Motorsports. “Everyone wants to take part in celebrating the Indy 500 and one of its most iconic traditions, and these bottles have become more of a hot commodity each and every day as we get closer to May.”

Rossi also presented a bottle to the hosts of the NFL Network program “Good Morning Football” in New York during an appearance on the show March 7, sharing a toast of milk live on the air. Milk bottles also have been presented to these prominent individuals:

  • Former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno, during a recent visit to the IMS Hall of Fame Museum
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, during the annual flag-raising ceremony at Gate 1 of IMS
  • Kentucky Derby Museum President Patrick Armstrong, during a Town Hall at the museum featuring three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and IMS President Doug Boles
  • Indiana Black Expo Inc. President Tanya Bell, to mark 89 days from Race Day
  • Susie Wheldon, wife of late two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race weekend
  • Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Ken Griffey Jr., during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race weekend
  • Former NFL player and Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Grand Marshal Mark Schlereth
  • Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, at the Statehouse and delivered by driver Stefan Wilson

Dario Franchitti, Bruce McLaren elected to IMS Museum Hall of Fame

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Three-time Indianapolis 500 and four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti and iconic driver, team owner and constructor Bruce McLaren have been elected to the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

The release with full information is below:

Two of the most well-known names in motorsports history are the newest inductees into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and legendary driver and constructor Bruce McLaren have been voted into the prestigious pantheon by an esteemed panel of auto racing journalists, participants and historians.

Franchitti won 31 races in his illustrious IndyCar series career, taking the Indianapolis 500 in 2007, 2010 and 2012. The Scottish-born driver won four series championships (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and lost a fifth on a tie-breaker in 1999. Franchitti also was part of a winning effort at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2008.

“Dario Franchitti’s winning performances at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are some of the most memorable in IMS history,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “His three wins in a five-race space, coupled with four front row starts and six top seven finishes in just 10 starts prove Dario understood how to compete at IMS. In addition, Dario was a fan favorite because of the combination of his mastery in the car coupled with his understanding and appreciation of the history of the Indianapolis 500. He, more than most, will understand the honor of becoming a member of the Auto Racing Hall of Fame.”

“Quite apart from having compiled an exceptional and well-documented driving career of his own,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson, “Dario continuously displays the most profound respect for those who went before him, along with pure passion for the history of motorsport, not only by collecting memorabilia, but even to the point of having taken a course in car restoration”

Bruce McLaren drives the #11 McLaren BRM M4B during the Daily Mail Race of Champions on 12 March 1967 at the Brands Hatch circuit in Fawkham, Great Britain. (Photo by Getty Images)

McLaren was a highly successful driver, designer, constructor and engineer, whose name lives on in the eponymous Formula 1 team that has captured eight constructor’s championships and 12 driver’s titles. As a driver McLaren won four Formula 1 races, two Can-Am Series championships, and co-drove to a win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 with fellow Kiwi Chris Amon.

“Even decades after his passing, the name Bruce McLaren instantly conjures up vivid memories for racing enthusiasts around the world, whether they be for his Formula One driving days; for his analytical approach to racing; his decision to start up his own marque, when he could well have continued to drive for other people; his utter dominance, along with fellow New Zealander Denis Hulme of the Can-Am series in the late 1960s; or for the legendary organizations he left behind which compiled multiple Formula One constructor championships and Indianapolis 500 wins” said Davidson.

The two inductees were chosen from a star-studded ballot of 16 nominees, 7 of which received at least 50 percent of the vote. A nominee needed to be named on 75 percent of the ballots, or finish first in his or her voting category to be inducted.

The 2017 inductees were announced on “Founders Day,” March 20, 2017, the 108th anniversary of the day the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company was officially formed.

The Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum honors and celebrates individual contribution to the sport of automobile racing. It was founded in 1952 under the auspices of the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association (AAA). The Hall of Fame was moved to the original Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in 1962 under the direction of then-Speedway president Anton “Tony” Hulman.

Fans celebrate 101 days to the 101st Indianapolis 500

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Almost 2,000 fans gathered Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a pizza party celebrating 101 Days until the 101st Indianapolis 500.

The day began with an unveiling of the ticket for 2017 race, featuring defending winner Alexander Rossi. The ticket features a red, white, and blue logo for the 2017 event at the top left while Rossi is featured in the center, adorning the winner’s wreath and receiving a milk bath at the hands of Bryan Herta amidst celebrations with Michael Andretti and other Andretti-Herta Autosport team members.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 29: Alexander Rossi of the United States pumps his fist as he crosses the finish line to win the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 29, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

“This year’s ticket features a spectacular design, and it will be a great keepsake for fans for years to come,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles. “We’re grateful to our friends at Cummins, who share our passion for racing and the Indy 500, for hosting us this morning and creating such a special memory for Alexander, as well as the many community partners and Verizon IndyCar Series fans in attendance.”

Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, and Josef Newgarden were among the drivers in attendance, signing autographs and greeting the fans in attendance. Among the activities that highlighted the evening was a simulator that allowed attendees to take virtual laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Last year’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 was a flying success, with the event completely selling out and featuring one of the most exciting 500-mile races ever held. Thirteen drivers swapped the lead 54 times, with Rossi running out of fuel as he approached the start/finish line to claim the victory.

Rossi’s winning image revealed on 101st Indy 500 ticket

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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One of the annual traditions for the previous year’s winner of the Indianapolis 500 is that his or her likeness and winning image will be revealed on the next year’s ticket.

That day has come today with Alexander Rossi’s shocked but amazed moment in victory lane as he captured the win in the No. 98 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda for Andretti-Herta Autosport in last year’s epic 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

“This year’s ticket features a spectacular design, and it will be a great keepsake for fans for years to come,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles said in a release. “We’re grateful to our friends at Cummins, who share our passion for racing and the Indy 500, for hosting us this morning and creating such a special memory for Alexander, as well as the many community partners and Verizon IndyCar Series fans in attendance.”

You can view the full release here.