Lucas Oil Raceway, formerly known as O’Reilly Raceway Park and Indianapolis Raceway Park, has provided nearly 50 years of racing excitement for racing fans of Indianapolis and central Indiana. The 300-acre motorsport complex hosts a variety of racing events, including midget, drag, and road car racing, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and a NASCAR Nationwide Series event. Though not as enormous as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the capability for short track racing at the raceway park allows for sprint car races and other events.
The Indianapolis Raceway Park began as a venture by several local Indianapolis businesses in 1959 as a recreational sporting complex that would focus on auto racing. Originally, two tracks were built, which included a 15 turn, 2.5-mile road course as well as a 4,400 foot drag strip that was incorporated into the main straightway of the road course. A year later, in 1961, a .686 mile paved oval was completed to finish off the track capabilities of the facility. The oval track was used as-is until an overall track renovation was completed in 1988 in order to increase speed on the track.
A wide variety of cars have seen action at the track over the years, with the oval track hosting the highest number of races that include midget, sprint, and stock cars. The road course would see its share of action as well with sports cars, go-carts, and motorcycles speeding around its corners. Both amateur and professional drag racing in motorcycles and cars would take place at the racing facility’s drag strip.
The initial Indianapolis Raceway Park Road Race was held in 1961, and the early 1960’s would see both IndyCar and USAC stock car racing at the park’s road course. This road course also accommodates a variety of sports car road races sponsored by the Sports Car Club of America. The Indy Grand Prix tops off as the highlight of the season, with club racers in attendance from all corners of the United States competing on this fast and favored track.
The road course also draws racing fans for other types of races, including two annual motorcycle road races put on by the Western Eastern Racing Association. Go-carts see action on the road course in an “enduro” event, and the International Motor Sports Association hosts the annual 3-hour Firestone Firehawk Endurance Race at the Lucas Oil Raceway. In addition to the various races held on the road course, the Skip Barber Racing School uses the road course to teach future racers..
The park’s drag strip draws much attention in its own right but was initially constructed as an offset to other non-profitable tracks at the racing facility. The drag strip saw its inaugural race in 1960 and has generated a level of interest and income beyond the park organizers’ initial expectations. The National Hotrod Association has hosted its annual U.S. Drag Nationals at the O’Reilly Raceway Park since 1961. This Indianapolis event, the largest of its kind in the world, draws over 150,000 spectators and 1,000 racing teams every Labor Day weekend. The drag strip also plays host to the world’s largest amateur drag racing event, the NHRA Firestone TNN E.T. Racing Tournament.
The NHRA has a vested interest in the raceway park; it purchased the park in 1979 and implemented a course of renovations and reconstruction of the somewhat ailing park. Improved track surfaces, and amenities to increase spectator convenience were a primary goal in this renovation project. In 2006, the naming rights to the park were purchased by O’Reilly Auto Parts, and the park was renamed O’Reilly Raceway Park. However, in January 2011, Lucas Oil secured the naming rights, and the raceway was once again renamed, “Lucas Oil Raceway.”
Racing events at the speedway are supported by a full-time staff, with the assistance of over 300 part-time employees. The facilities are also used to host additional races, shows, swap meets, and additional gatherings catered to specific fan groups. These additional races and motorsport-oriented events include the annual Super Chevy Show, Indy Hot Rod Happening, and the Mopar and Corvette Nationals.
Lucas Oil Raceway
10267 E US Highway 136
Indianapolis, IN 46234-9089