The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an American icon and the world’s greatest racecourse. With a seating capacity of more than 300,000, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also the world’s largest sports seating facility. Since its opening, the Speedway has been a proving ground for automobiles and an important factor in the development of the present-day automobile.
The Speedway has been the scene of more than 100 Indianapolis 500 Mile Races, the GMR Grand Prix and the NTT IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series, Formula One, MotoGP, GRAND-AM Road Racing, Red Bull Air Races and the USAC Driven2SaveLives BC39, playing host to many of the greatest champions, pioneers and innovators in auto racing, motorcycle and aviation competition history.
With IMS already well into its second century, it’s impossible to capture every highlight of its rich history. However, below is a chronological timeline featuring many highlights in the Speedway’s existence:
1909: The founders, Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Arthur C. Newby and Frank H. Wheeler, pooled their ideas and resources to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which would become the world’s greatest racecourse. Fisher’s vision was to build an automobile testing ground to support Indiana’s growing automotive industry.
June 5, 1909: The first competitive event took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—a gas-filled balloon race. In the handicap division, Dr. Goethe Link and Russ Irvin’s “Indianapolis” won. John Berry and Paul McCullough won the National Championship race with the “University City.”
Aug. 14, 1909: The first motorized races—using motorcycles—took place on the recently completed IMS oval, which had a racing surface composed of crushed stone sprayed with tar. A.G. Chapple won the first race, a five-mile handicapped race with seven competitors, on an Indian motorcycle. The two-day event was originally scheduled to begin on Friday, Aug. 13 but was rained out. Because competitors would not compete on Sundays in that era, the final day of competition was rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 16, but the day’s activities were canceled due to track surface conditions.
Aug. 19, 1909: The Speedway opened for three days of auto racing, the first automobile races in track history. The first auto race was a two-lap, 5-mile standing start “dash” won by Louis Schwitzer. Accidents in the initial events, however, convinced the management that a paved surface was necessary for the safety of drivers.
Late 1909: In a span of 63 days, 3.2 million paving bricks, each weighing 9.5 pounds, were laid on top of the crushed rock and tar surface to upgrade the Speedway. The nickname, “The Brickyard,” was coined before the work was completed. The job was completed in time for another series of races scheduled for Dec. 18, but sub-freezing weather forced cancellation.
1910: Various racing programs took place at the Speedway during May, July, and September 1910. The Speedway became one of the only racetracks to have permanent garages, located inside of Turn 1. The Speedway also played a role in the early history of flight by playing host to the first National Aviation Meet on June 13-18.
May 30, 1911: The first Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, initially named the “International Sweepstakes,” was won by Ray Harroun at an average speed of 74.602 mph, earning $14,250 from a total purse of $30,150. Except during America’s involvement in World Wars I and II, the Indianapolis 500 has been an annual event ever since. Many historians believe that this race marked the first use of a pace car to start a race. It is also believed that Harroun’s Marmon “Wasp” was the first automobile, worldwide, to have a rearview mirror.
1912: The Indianapolis 500 became the highest paying sporting event in the world when Carl Fisher increased the total purse to $50,000 and first prize to $20,000.
1913: A four-tier tower of the Japanese pagoda design was erected. It’s believed this design was chosen because co-founder Frank H. Wheeler had a keen interest in Japanese architecture.
1920: The four-lap qualification format was introduced. Driver Art Klein was the first to post a “time trial” under this format.
1923: Tommy Milton became the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 two times (his first win was in 1921). Except for one car, this was also the first time the entire field used single-seat cars during the “500.”
1925: Peter DePaolo won the Indianapolis 500 and became the first driver to average faster than 100 mph. It was also the first time that substantial radio broadcasts took place at the track—WFBM of Indianapolis and WGN from Chicago.
1926: The original Pagoda, which was razed with fire after the 1925 Indianapolis 500, was replaced with a similar yet slightly larger version in time for the 1926 race. As speeds increased, officials felt the original Pagoda was built too close to the track, and thus the new Pagoda was built considerably further back from the main straightaway.
1927: Former Indianapolis 500 driver and World War I “Flying Ace” Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and associates purchased the Speedway for $750,000.
1929: A golf course was added to the Speedway’s landscape. Today’s Brickyard Crossing Golf Course sits on the same land outside the oval backstretch and inside the oval’s infield.
1935: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the first track in the world to install safety-warning lights. Also, helmet use became mandatory at IMS, a first for motor racing worldwide.
1936: Louis Meyer became the first driver to win three Indianapolis 500 Mile Races. He also requested a bottle of buttermilk in Victory Lane, creating the inspiration for the winner to drink milk, an annual tradition since 1956. Before the race, patches of asphalt were applied to the rougher portions of the bricks in the turns.
1937: All turns were resurfaced with asphalt before the race, and magnaflux inspection of key safety-related metal parts was made mandatory.
1938: Asphalt was laid on the entire surface except for the middle section of both straightaways.
1939: The entire track, except the middle portion of the main straightaway, was resurfaced with asphalt.
1940: Wilbur Shaw became the first driver to win back-to-back Indianapolis 500s. Only four other drivers have accomplished this feat: Mauri Rose (1947-48), Bill Vukovich (1953-54), Al Unser (1970-71) and Helio Castroneves (2001-02).
Nov. 14, 1945: Tony Hulman of Terre Haute, Indiana, obtained control of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, purchasing it from Eddie Rickenbacker for $750,000. Hulman would help elevate the Indianapolis 500 and the month of May to a new level. Wilbur Shaw was named president and general manager. Shaw would later popularize the tradition of announcing, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines” in the early 1950s.
Mid-to-late 1940s: At the end of World War II, the IMS facilities were in deplorable condition due to its closure during the war, so a long-range program of improvements was launched immediately. The old wooden grandstands were replaced with steel and concrete structures as rapidly as possible in following years.
1949: Television cameras made their first appearance at the track on the morning of the 1949 race. WFBM Channel 6 went on the air with a documentary about the race entitled “The Crucible of Speed” and then televised the entire Indianapolis 500 live. This marked the first-ever television broadcast in the city of Indianapolis. One of the cameras was positioned on top of the first double-decker grandstand in Turn 1.
1954: Tony Hulman became the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after the tragic death of Wilbur Shaw in a plane crash on Oct. 30, 1954, near Decatur, Indiana.
1956: The first Hall of Fame Museum/office building at the main entrance to the grounds (outside Turn 1) was completed. The Museum was opened with six cars in the collection and free admission. From 1909 to 1956, the IMS corporate offices were at various locations, mostly along North Capitol Avenue, in downtown Indianapolis.
1957: A new Master Control Tower (replacing the 1926 Pagoda), Tower Terrace, and Pit Area were completed before May—along with a new tunnel under the backstretch. Other improvements followed quickly. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation is created in November.
1961: A.J. Foyt earned the first of his four Indianapolis 500 victories after he took the lead from Eddie Sachs on Lap 197. In October, the remaining bricks on the front straightaway were covered with asphalt. A 36-inch strip of the original bricks (“Yard of Bricks”) was kept intact at the start/finish line, where it remains today, and on Nov. 6, IMS owner Tony Hulman and Ray Harroun placed a golden brick in the Yard of Bricks to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Harroun’s victory in the inaugural Indianapolis 500.
1965: The Indianapolis 500 was televised nationally on a tape-delayed basis for the first time, on the ABC network.
May 25, 1975: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is named to the National Register of Historic Places on Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
April 5, 1976: The new, multimillion-dollar Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum was opened to the public, featuring approximately 75 classic automobiles, motorcycles, and racing cars. The museum was renamed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in 2016 in order to differentiate it from other racing “halls of fame.”
Summer 1976: The entire track was resurfaced with asphalt, marking the first complete repaving since paving bricks were installed in fall 1909.
May 14, 1977: Pole-sitter Tom Sneva turned the first official 200-mph laps at the Speedway.
May 22, 1977: On the final day of qualifying, Janet Guthrie became the first female to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
1977: A.J. Foyt became the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times (1961, 1964, 1967, and 1977). Two other drivers would accomplish this feat in the years to come: Al Unser in 1987 (also won in 1970, 1971, and 1978) and Rick Mears in 1991 (also won in 1979, 1984, and 1988).
Oct. 27, 1977: Tony Hulman passed away after 32 years of presiding over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His family took on the responsibility of preserving his vision and the heritage of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hulman’s wife, Mary Fendrich Hulman, became chairman of the board while longtime family friend Joseph R. Cloutier was named president.
May 27, 1979: The “pack up” rule was employed as a safety measure during caution periods, and for the first time in history, the Pace Car appeared on track during the Indianapolis 500.
October 1979: The board of directors elected John R. Cooper to a director’s position and named him president and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation.
Spring 1982: Cooper resigned as president and CEO and was subsequently elected chairman of ACCUS- FIA, Inc. Cloutier was again named IMS president.
Spring 1986: A new garage area complex was built, which includes 96 individual garages for race teams and new accessory rooms accommodating up to 25 participating companies.
1986: Bobby Rahal became the first driver to complete the Indianapolis 500 in less than three hours. The Indianapolis 500 was broadcast live on ABC for the first time.
Feb. 27, 1987: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway joined the National Park Service’s prestigious list of National Historic Landmarks. As of 2019, less than 2,600 sites in the United States qualify as “NHLs,” while more than 93,000 sites are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Aug. 7, 1987: The Opening Ceremonies for the Tenth Pan American Games took place on the Speedway’s main straightaway, using an elaborate stage incorporating the Master Control Tower and pit lane. Vice President George H.W. Bush attended to formally open the games.
May 1988: Mary Fendrich Hulman was named chairman of the board emeritus and her daughter, Mari Hulman George, was named chairman of the board.
1988: Following the “500,” won by Rick Mears, the entire track and pit area were resurfaced.
1989: The winner’s share of the Indianapolis 500 exceeded $1 million for the first time, which was won by Emerson Fittipaldi. Grandstand A was remodeled.
Dec. 11, 1989: IMS President Joseph Cloutier passed away.
Jan. 8, 1990: Anton H. “Tony” George, grandson of Tony Hulman, was named president of the Speedway.
1990: Arie Luyendyk set an official Indianapolis 500 race record of 185.981 mph for the full 500 miles.
May 26, 1991: Rick Mears becomes the third driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times (1979, 1984, and 1988).
Spring 1992: A newly designed, energy-absorbing crash pad was installed at the pit entrance on the north end of the inside pit wall.
May 24, 1992: Al Unser Jr. beat Scott Goodyear in the closest race in Indianapolis 500 history. The margin of victory was .043 of a second.
June 22-23, 1992: Nine NASCAR drivers conducted a tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first official NASCAR test in the track’s history. The participants: Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin, Bill Elliott, Darrell Waltrip, Ernie Irvan, Davey Allison, and Kyle Petty. The top speed was 168.767 mph by Elliott on June 23.
1993: Brickyard Crossing, an 18-hole championship-caliber golf course, opened to the public, replacing the old Speedway Golf Course. Four of the holes are located within the infield at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
April 14, 1993: IMS President Tony George and NASCAR President Bill France Jr. announced in a press conference at the IMS Museum that the inaugural Brickyard 400 will take place on Aug. 6, 1994.
Aug. 16-17, 1993: Thirty-one NASCAR drivers participated in a test session in preparation for the Brickyard 400. Bill Elliott was fastest again, at 167.467 mph.
1994: Victory Lane was transformed into a circular, rotating lift in the Tower Terrace horseshoe, and a new, 97-foot-tall scoring pylon with modern electronics replaced the pylon that marked the main straightaway since 1959. In addition to track renovations, the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway Administrative Office was completed at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road (outside Turn 1).
March 11, 1994: Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, announced plans for a new racing series, the Indy Racing League, to begin competition in 1996. The Indianapolis 500 is its cornerstone event.
Aug. 6, 1994: 23-year-old Jeff Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400. The race holds the record as the largest-attended NASCAR race in history with a sellout crowd estimated at 250,000.
September 1994: The first Comfort Classic at the Brickyard, featuring the Senior PGA Tour (now the PGA Tour Champions), took place.
Fall 1995: The entire track, except the new pit lane and warm-up lanes, was repaved. Concrete walls and catch fencing were installed along the inside of the back straightaway.
1996: Arie Luyendyk established the one-lap Indianapolis 500 qualifying record of 237.498 mph and the four-lap record of 236.986. Buddy Lazier won the race and became the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 under the Indy Racing League (now INDYCAR) flag.
Aug. 3, 1996: Dale Jarrett wins the third Brickyard 400. After the race, Jarrett and his crew chief, Todd Parrott, walked out to the start-finish line and kissed the Yard of Bricks, creating a new IMS tradition.
Sept. 7, 1997: Plans were announced to build a new Control Tower that resembles the historic Pagoda structures that stood at the track from 1913-1956. The Pagoda was completed in time for the 2000 Indianapolis 500.
May 24, 1998: The 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race was dedicated to the memory of Mary Fendrich Hulman, chairman emeritus of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, who passed away on April 10, 1998 at age 93.
July 31, 1998: Mark Martin won the inaugural 40-lap “IROC at Indy” International Race of Champions event. Jeff Gordon won his second Brickyard 400 the next day, becoming the event’s first multi-time winner.
Dec. 2, 1998: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced plans to play host to the United States Grand Prix Formula One race at the Speedway starting in 2000. Work began to prepare the track for the race, including the development of a 2.605-mile road course and 36 pit-side garages for the Formula One teams, plus the Pagoda.
Sept. 24, 2000: Michael Schumacher won the inaugural United States Grand Prix Formula One race at Indianapolis before a sellout crowd estimated at 225,000. Schumacher’s Ferrari teammate, Rubens Barrichello, finished second, and Heinz-Harald Frentzen was third in a Jordan Grand Prix entry.
May 27, 2001: Helio Castroneves won the 85th Indianapolis 500. With Juan Pablo Montoya’s “500” victory in 2000, it marks the first time since 1926-27 that rookies had won consecutive races.
Aug. 5, 2001: Jeff Gordon won the eighth Brickyard 400, becoming the first three-time winner of that prestigious event.
Jan. 8, 2002: The Olympic Torch Relay came to the Speedway on the way to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. IndyCar Series drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves took a lap with the flame in the back of a Chevy Avalanche; Eddie Cheever Jr. and IMS CEO Tony George each ran with the flame.
March 2002: The Speedway’s asphalt oval surface was made smoother in a process called “diamond- grinding,” the first time that the track was ground to smooth the surface.
May 1, 2002: The Speedway announced that the groundbreaking SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier was in place in all four of the Speedway oval’s corners for the beginning of practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500. The barrier was under development by the Indy Racing League, IMS, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility since 1998; NASCAR joined in the development of the project in September 2000. The SAFER Barrier is designed for multiple impacts by IndyCar Series cars and stock cars during an event, and to allow for quick repair if a section of steel is damaged in a crash.
May 26, 2002: Helio Castroneves won the 86th Indianapolis 500, becoming the first driver to win back-to-back Indy 500’s since Al Unser in 1970 and 1971. Castroneves is the first driver to win the “500” in each of his first two starts.
Aug. 8, 2002: The Indiana quarter, which features a modern IndyCar Series race car, was released to the public during a ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Aug. 8, 2004: Jeff Gordon became the first four-time winner of the Brickyard 400.
Late Summer-Fall 2004: The 2.5-mile oval surface, pit lane, and warm-up lanes were repaved. Crews removed the famous “Yard of Bricks” beginning Aug. 9, milling of the old asphalt surface began Aug. 16, and the final layer of new asphalt was laid in early November.
March 2005: The new “Version 2” SAFER Barrier was installed in each of the four corners of the Speedway oval.
May 29, 2005: Rookie Danica Patrick becomes the first woman to lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500. She led 19 laps on her way to a fourth-place finish, while Dan Wheldon won his first of two Indianapolis 500s. She bested her record for the highest finishing position for a female in the Indianapolis 500 with a third-place finish in 2009.
Aug. 7, 2005: Tony Stewart, a native and resident of Columbus, Indiana, scored an emotional win at the Brickyard 400, becoming the first Indiana-born driver to win the Brickyard 400, and the first driver from Indiana to win a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since Shelbyville native Wilbur Shaw won the 1940 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
July 16, 2007: After announcing July 12 that Formula One would not return for 2008, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that MotoGP, the world’s premier motorcycle road racing series, will compete at IMS in 2008.
July 29, 2007: Hoosier Tony Stewart won his second Brickyard 400 over runner-up Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 champion. Montoya became the first driver to participate in three major racing events at IMS—the Indianapolis 500, the United States Grand Prix and the Brickyard 400.
July 30, 2007: Construction began on a new 2.621-mile road course to be used for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP race on Sept. 14, 2008. The 16-turn circuit included parts of the famed 2.5-mile oval and the Speedway’s original road circuit, built in 1999-2000 for the United States Grand Prix. The new portions of the course included a four-turn complex adjacent to oval Turn 1, and a three-turn complex behind the IMS Museum. Riders will compete on the course in a counter-clockwise direction, the same as the oval.
April 7, 2008: 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden christened the new 16-turn, 2.621-mile road circuit at IMS on two motorcycles—a 1909 Indian that raced in the first motor race at IMS in 1909 and a 2008 Honda CBR 1000 production bike. The late Hayden, from Owensboro, Kentucky, dressed in 1909 period costume of a leather helmet, goggles, blue sweater with “Indianapolis Speedway” sewn in green script on the front, knickers, and leather riding boots, to ride the 1909 Indian.
May 22, 2008: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced its celebration of 100 years of worldwide leadership in motorsports entertainment through its Centennial Era from 2009-2011, which will feature many special events and a new, retro corporate logo.
Sept. 14, 2008: MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi won the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP, which officials ended after 20 of the scheduled 28 laps due to high winds and heavy rain brought on by the remnants of Hurricane Ike. Rossi became the winningest MotoGP/500cc rider in history with his 69th victory in that class, surpassing fellow Italian legend Giacomo Agostini. Nicky Hayden finished second and Jorge Lorenzo was third.
Feb. 27, 2009: Nineteen of the 27 living Indianapolis 500 winners—including four-time winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears—were among the featured guests at the Centennial Era Gala at the Indiana Convention Center, which officially started the Centennial Era at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
May 1-3, 2009: The Centennial Era Balloon Festival takes place at IMS, honoring the first event at the Speedway 100 years ago. Balloon “glows” and “Hare and Hound” races are key components of the event.
May 24, 2009: Helio Castroneves wins the Indianapolis 500, becoming the ninth driver to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” three times.
June 30, 2009: The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that veteran IMS executives W. Curtis Brighton and Jeffrey G. Belskus will head the Hulman- George companies effective July 1. Brighton became president and CEO of Hulman & Company. Belskus became president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation.
July 26, 2009: Jimmie Johnson became the second driver (after Jeff Gordon) to win the Brickyard 400 three times and the first driver to win the race in consecutive years.
July 25, 2010: Jamie McMurray gave team owner Chip Ganassi a special place in global motorsports history with a victory in the Brickyard 400, an unprecedented “triple crown” of major motorsports victories in one year, as McMurray also won the 2010 Daytona 500 and Dario Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500 for Ganassi’s IndyCar Series team.
Feb. 11, 2011: Tom Carnegie, the legendary chief announcer for the IMS Public Address system for an incredible 61 years, died in the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville. He was 91. Carnegie served as the Public Address announcer at the Speedway from 1946-2006. He called 61 Indianapolis 500’s, 12 Brickyard 400’s and six United States Grands Prix for millions of fans at IMS.
May 20, 2011: U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe dedicated and issued a First-Class Forever stamp honoring the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The stamp featured an art deco-style drawing of Ray Harroun driving the famous Marmon “Wasp” to victory in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911.
May 24, 2011: A Centennial Golden Brick was placed in the famous Yard of Bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, celebrating the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500. IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt and IMS Corporation President and CEO Jeff Belskus participated in the ceremony.
May 28, 2011: More than 125 Indianapolis 500 veteran drivers, including most of the 27 living winners of the race, returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to participate in “The World’s Largest Autograph Session” and other festivities during “A.J. Foyt Day.”
May 29, 2011: Dan Wheldon earned his second Indianapolis 500 victory in unforgettable fashion. Rookie JR Hildebrand crashed in the final turn on the last lap, and Wheldon passed Hildebrand’s crippled car on the front straightaway to take the checkered flag in the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500. Hildebrand finished second.
Aug. 26-28, 2011: The iconic rumble of Harley-Davidson motorcycles returned in competition to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time since 1909 when the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series raced during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
Sept. 9, 2011: The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company appointed longtime IMS Corporation senior executive Jeffrey G. Belskus as president and CEO of Hulman & Company, effective Oct. 1. Belskus, who also retained his role at IMSC, replaced Curt Brighton.
July 27, 2012: Indianapolis 500 veteran and IndyCar Series standout Sebastien Bourdais teamed with Alex Popow to win the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race at IMS.
July 28, 2012: Brad Keselowski delivered a long-awaited stock car victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to legendary team owner Roger Penske, winning the inaugural Indiana 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
July 29, 2012: Jimmie Johnson became the second four-time winner of the Brickyard 400, joining Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon.
Dec. 17, 2012: Veteran business leader and international sports executive Mark D. Miles became chief executive officer of Hulman & Company, the parent company of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
May 26, 2013: Fan-favorite driver Tony Kanaan earned a popular Indianapolis 500 victory while setting the all-time race average speed record of 187.433 mph, completing the 500 miles in 2 hours, 40 minutes and 3.4181 seconds. The 2013 “500” also featured the most lead changes in race history: 68.
July 9, 2013: J. Douglas Boles was named president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation. He joined IMS in November 2010 as director of public relations and promoted to vice president of PR a year later. In January 2013, Boles was named interim chief operating officer.
Oct. 1, 2013: IMS announced the first NTT IndyCar Series road race would take place May 10, 2014. The inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis (now GMR Grand Prix) used a revised 2.439-mile, 14-turn version of the road course still in use today.
May 10, 2014: Simon Pagenaud won the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The 2.439-mile road course received rave reviews from drivers for its fast configuration and multiple passing zones.
May 25, 2014: Ryan Hunter-Reay beat Helio Castroneves to the finish line after a dramatic late-race duel by just .0600 of a second, the second-closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history. With Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport teammate, Marco Andretti, finishing third just .3771 of a second behind the winner, the race featured the closest 1-2-3 finish in “500” history.
July 1, 2014: The largest solar farm at any sporting facility in the world opened on IMS-owned property east of oval Turn 3. The IMS Solar Farm, on a previously underutilized parcel of land, contains 39,312 solar modules that generate 9 megawatts of power.
July 22, 2014: The third-generation Indianapolis Motor Speedway Scoring Pylon was unveiled on the main straightaway. Built by Panasonic, the fully LED-paneled pylon can display high-resolution video, animation, logos, and digital artwork. The original scoring pylon debuted in 1959 and was replaced by the second-generation version in 1994.
July 27, 2014: Jeff Gordon won the Brickyard 400, becoming the first driver in history to win five major races on the 2.5-mile IMS oval. His previous wins in the illustrious NASCAR Cup Series race took place in 1994, 1998, 2001, and 2004, all with Hendrick Motorsports.
May 24, 2015: Juan Pablo Montoya won his second Indianapolis 500, driving for Team Penske. The 15- year gap between wins (he won in 2000 as a rookie with Chip Ganassi Racing) is a record for the longest between “500” wins.
July 4, 2015: The Rolling Stones hosted the first-ever non-race weekend concert at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in front of an electrifying crowd of 50,000. Since then, IMS has hosted some of the biggest music acts in the country, including Foreigner, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Nelly and more.
Dec. 16, 2015: After announcing Sept. 11 that MotoGP would not return for 2016, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, the ultimate motorsports competition in the sky, will compete at IMS in 2016. The Red Bull Air Race on Oct. 1-2, 2016 will be contested in an aerial racetrack featuring air-filled pylons.
Feb. 18, 2016: 1,600 race fans came together on the Yard of Bricks to celebrate 100 days until the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race when the clock struck midnight.
Spring 2016: In the months leading up to the 100th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, an all-volunteer 100th Running Host Committee formalized and celebrated “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Nearly 600 volunteers between 12 committees and 38 subcommittees engaged fans across the State of Indiana and encompassed everything from youth programs, race day reunions, porch parties and downtown Indy and Main Street Speedway décor.
Spring 2016: IMS Historian Donald Davidson conducts 125 visits in all 92 counties in Indiana on a “Back Home Again in Indiana” celebration tour. Davidson reminded communities of their own unique ties to the Indianapolis 500 and reinforced how the race connects all Hoosiers.
April 6, 2016: Officials reveal a new logo and name for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. The logo, prominently featuring the top of the Borg-Warner Trophy, and retirement of “Hall of Fame” in the name were accomplished to better reflect the Museum’s purpose and status as a 501(c)(3) organization separate from IMS Corporation, and to remove confusion between many other racing “Halls of Fame” around the U.S.
May 2016: IMS management and contractors complete “Project 100” on time and ahead of the 100th Indianapolis 500. Started in 2013, Project 100 included major upgrades to grandstands (particularly the iconic Paddock Penthouse grandstands along the main straightaway), suites, new elevators, new high-definition video boards, new Scoring Pylon and a new Gate 1 and entry plaza.
May 25, 2016: IMS officials announced the first sellout in the history of the Indianapolis 500-Mile race. All suites, reserved seating, and infield general admission tickets for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 were sold out.
May 29, 2016: Alexander Rossi, an NTT IndyCar Series rookie driving for Andretti Autosport, stunned the motorsports world by winning the 100th Indianapolis 500 before a sellout crowd of 350,000. He was the first race rookie to win the “500” since Helio Castroneves in 2001.
Oct. 1-2, 2016: Aviation competition returned to IMS for the first time since 1910 with the Red Bull Air Race, won by German pilot Matthias Dolderer. The first competitive event of any kind at IMS was a gas- filled balloon race in 1909; the Speedway’s aviation meet in 1910 featured airplanes piloted by pioneers such as Orville and Wilbur Wright.
Nov. 18, 2016: “Lights at the Brickyard,” a holiday-themed light show featuring 400 displays on a 1.7- mile driving route using the IMS infield and oval, debuted to the public.
2016: Mari Hulman George, daughter of Tony Hulman, was named chairman of the board emeritus and her son, Anton H. “Tony” George, was named chairman of the board.
Sept. 7-9, 2017: The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) returned to Brickyard Crossing Golf Course at IMS for the first time since 1968, with American superstar Lexi Thompson winning the inaugural Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim.
June 26, 2018: IMS officials announced the construction of a quarter-mile dirt track located inside Turn 3 of the famed 2.5-mile oval, which will host a United States Auto Club Midget National Championship event, the Driven2SaveLives BC39 Powered by NOS Energy Drink, during the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line NASCAR weekend in early September. The unique 39-lap A-Main feature event honors late USAC champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Bryan Clauson and increases awareness of the Indiana Donor Network and Driven2SaveLives.
Sept. 5-6, 2018: The inaugural Driven2SaveLives BC39 Powered by NOS Energy Drink USAC Midget National Championship event is held on the new quarter-mile dirt oval inside the famed 2.5-mile oval. Zeb Wise, 15, won the opening Stoops Pursuit race on Sept. 5. Brady Bacon won the inaugural 39-lap feature and a $15,000 winner’s purse – the largest in Midget racing at the time – on Sept. 6.
Sept. 9, 2018: NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski gives legendary Indianapolis 500 team owner Roger Penske his first Brickyard 400 victory.
Nov. 3, 2018: IMS Chairman of the Board Emeritus Mari Hulman George passed away at age 83. She served as IMS chairman from 1988-2016.
Nov. 4, 2019: A new era dawned at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a press conference at the IMS Media Center announcing that the Hulman-George family would sell the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the IndyCar Series, and IMS Productions to Penske Corporation. At the press conference, Anton “Tony” George represented the family, while Penske Corp. Founder and Chairman Roger Penske and Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles also participated. Roger Penske spoke of the honor of being just the fourth different ownership group in the century-plus history of the Speedway, as well as his ambition to turn the racetrack into a modern-day sports facility with an improved fan experience.
Jan. 6, 2020: Penske Corp. officially took ownership of the facility, operating the Speedway, the IndyCar Series and IMS Productions under a new subsidiary, Penske Entertainment. The IMS Foundation, which operates the IMS Museum and owns its extensive collection of race cars, automobiles, trophies, artwork and media, was not included in the sale.
Jan. 22, 2020: Matt DiBenedetto turned the first official laps by a stock car on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course after it was announced on Jan. 15 that the NASCAR Xfinity Series race will move to the IMS road course on July 4 and contest the first-ever NASCAR road course race at IMS.
Feb. 14, 2020: A wide-ranging, multifaceted plan to boost and strengthen the Indianapolis 500 was unveiled by Penske Corp. Chairman Roger Penske and Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles. The announcement featured technology upgrades and infrastructure improvements.
Aug. 23, 2020: The Indianapolis 500 is not held on its traditional date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rescheduled from Sunday, May 24, this is the first time the race was held outside May and without fans.
May 30, 2021: Race fans made an emotional return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500, the largest event in the world to take place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. A sold-out, socially distanced crowd of 135,000 fans celebrated the reopening of America, which was capped off by Helio Castroneves’ historic fourth Indianapolis 500 win, tying him with legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears as the winningest drivers in the history of the Indy 500 (2001, 2002 and 2009).
Aug. 13-15, 2021: NASCAR and IndyCar paired to host a tripleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with race fans in attendance for the first time ever. It was the second such weekend, with the first taking place at IMS over July Fourth Weekend in 2020 without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also marked a new era in the history of NASCAR at IMS, as the NASCAR Cup Series transitioned from the 2.5-mile oval to the 14-turn, 2.439-mile IMS road course.