The Hoosier Hundred is a USAC Silver Crown Series race held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. The race was first held in 1953, and through 1970 was part of the National Championship.
Over the years, the Hoosier Hundred has been considered one of the richest and most prestigious open wheel Sprint car races in the United States. Seven winners of the Hoosier Hundred have also won the Indianapolis 500, led by A. J. Foyt, who has won six times. The event takes place at the historic one-mile (1.6 km) dirt oval at the fairgrounds complex, known as the "Track of Champions."
Qualifying and/or heat race(s) lead up to the main event, a 100-lap, 100-mile (160 km) race held under the lights. Currently, the Hoosier Hundred is held on Memorial Day weekend, the same weekend as the Indianapolis 500, which is held nearby at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Racing at the fairgrounds oval dates back to the early 20th century. In June 1903, Barney Oldfield drove the first 60 mph (96.5 km/h) lap in automobile history at the circuit. The first AAA championship race took place in 1946, with Rex Mays sweeping the pole position and race.
1953-1970 - Champ Cars
The first Hoosier Hundred was held in 1953, and was part of the AAA National Championship Trail. The traditional date for the race would be in September. The race provided a popular second race in the Indianapolis-area, with the famous Indianapolis 500 in May, and many of the same participants returning to the fairgrounds four months later. The race grew in popularity and stature, and became one of the richest and most prestigious dirt track races in the U.S.
Starting in 1956, the sanctioning changed to USAC. It remained part of the "Champ Car" national championship trail through 1970. From 1965-1970, the Hoosier Grand Prix was held at Indianapolis Raceway Park, which meant there would be three Champ Car races in the Indianapolis area annually.
1971-1996 - Silver Crown cars
In 1971, USAC reorganized the National Championship trail, dropping all dirt tracks from the schedule. The Hoosier Hundred became part of the newly branded Silver Crown Series, and continued to maintain it popularity and stature. For most of the 1970s, several top drivers from the USAC Champ Car ranks would continue to participate.
Starting in 1981, a second sister race, the Hulman Hundred was added to the fairgrounds speedway. The Hulman Hundred, named in honor of Tony Hulman, was scheduled for May, typically the weekend of the Indy 500. Among the winners of the May race was future NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon.
In 1991, the Foyt Group took over promotions for both the Hulman Hundred (May) and Hoosier Hundred (September). For 1992-1996, they continued to schedule both races annually. For a brief time in the early 1990s, the Hoosier Hundred was moved up to Labor Day weekend, and coincided with the weekend of the U.S. Nationals, held at nearby Indianapolis Raceway Park.
The 1996 Hulman Hundred was held in May as scheduled, but during the summer of 1996, the traditional fall Hoosier Hundred was cancelled by the Foyt Group. They cited sagging attendance and revenue. In order to maintain a continuous lineage, the May 25 "Hulman Hundred" was retroactively titled the "1996 Hoosier Hundred."
1997-2001: Hulman-Hoosier Hundred
Starting in 1997, the Foyt Group merged the two races, and introduced a newly revamped event, titled the TrueValue Hulman-Hoosier Hundred. They utilized the May date, expecting a better crowd the weekend of the Indy 500.
The 1998 race was notable in that three drivers in the Hulman-Hoosier Hundred, Donnie Beechler, Jimmy Kite, and Jack Hewitt, were also participating in the Indianapolis 500. It was the first time in several years that multiple drivers competed at the fairgrounds and at Indy in the same year. Beechler would go on to win the 100-miler, while Kite and Hewitt would finish 11th and 12th, respectively, at Indy.
In 2000, the race was rained out on Friday and Saturday May 26–27. The Foyt Group rescheduled the race for September 22, the Friday before the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix at Indy. The race temporarily returned to its traditional September date and took on the one-time moniker the "Salute to the Grand Prix."
In 2001, the race was rained out again. For the second year in a row, it was rescheduled for the Friday before the U.S. Grand Prix. After 2001, the Foyt Group quit promotion of the race, and it was temporarily put on hiatus.
6R promotions took over the event, and revived the race for 2002. It was reverted to the original "Hoosier Hundred" name, dropping the "Hulman" reference. The race kept the Indy 500 weekend date in late May.
Track Enterprises and Bob Sargent took over the race in 2006 and currently promotes the race. For the 60th running in 2013, it was planned to move the race from Friday night of Indy 500 weekend to Thursday night. Carb Day, the final day of practice for the Indy 500, had been moved to Friday, and organizers wanted to move the Hoosier Hundred to avoid the conflict. However, in 2013, Thursday night was rained out, and the race was postponed to Friday night after all.
- 1964: Scheduled for September 19; postponed to September 26 due to rain
- 1996: The annual Hulman Hundred was scheduled for Friday May 24, but was postponed until Saturday May 25 due to rain. The traditional fall race was scheduled for late August, but was ultimately cancelled by promoters. The May 25, 1996 running of the "Hulman Hundred" (won by Dave Darland) was retroactively designated the 1996 edition of the annual "Hoosier Hundred," and is henceforth considered part of its annual lineage.
- 2000: Scheduled for Friday May 26, postponed to September 22 to become part of USGP weekend...said Tracy Hines...changed to Tony Elliott
- 2001: Scheduled for Friday May 25, postponed to September 28 due to rain
- 2013: Scheduled for Thursday May 23; postponed to Friday May 24 due to rain
- ChampCarStas.com - Indiana State Fairgrounds
- RacingReference.info - Indiana State Fairgrounds
- Ultimate Racing History - Indiana State Fairgrounds
- List of race winners
- "Hoosier Hundred Is Rich In Racing History". National Speed Sport News. 2013-05-00. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "Hoosier 100 - Event Info". Sprint Source. 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "Hoosier Lottery Grandstand". Indiana State Fair. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Cox, Stephen (2013-05-08). "Five Minutes with Hoosier Hundred Promoter Bob Sargent". Motor Sports News. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "Hoosier Hundred retrospective". MotorSport.com. 2006-05-16. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "Hoosier Hundred Retrospective". IndianaRacing.Net. 2007-05-21. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "Indy 500 Flavor at Foyt's "Hulman-Hoosier Hundred"". The Auto Channel. 1998-05-19. Retrieved 2013-06-24.