Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
|Owner||National Hot Rod Association|
|Operator||National Hot Rod Association|
|Major events||United States Auto Club
National Hot Rod Association
ARCA Racing Series
|Length||0.686 mi (1.1 km)|
|Lap record||0:19.581 (Mark Smith, Ralt of America, 1989, Formula Super Vee)|
|Lap record||0:4.486 (Tony Schumacher, Don Schumacher Racing, 2006, NHRA Top Fuel)|
|Length||2.5 mi (4.0 km)|
|Lap record||1:24.771 (Larry Connor, Ralt RT41, 2000, Formula Atlantic)|
Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly Indianapolis Raceway Park and O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis) is an auto racing park. The complex in Clermont, Indiana, includes a 0.686-mile (1.104 km) oval, a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) road course, and a 4,400-foot (1,300 m) drag strip which is among the premiere drag racing venues in the world.
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 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 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.
The premier feature of the facility is a 4,400-foot (1,300 m) long dragstrip. The one NHRA event held at Raceway Park is the oldest and most prestigious race in the NHRA. 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 Xfinity Series Kroger 200 was given a "Night before the 400" status; a NASCAR Camping World 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, is 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. Notably, in the 1969 movie Winning, Paul Newman's character, Frank Capua, competes in a USAC Stock Car event on the road course.
After a recent 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 has demanded the pit out be closed off with a permanent concrete wall. This effectively means closing the road course for competition purposes as well, as there is no other area on the current track layout suitable to relocate a viable pit lane. However, club racing has used a section of track that runs parallel to the backstretch of the oval (Turns 6–8) as a makeshift pit for club racing, although enough section of the return road for the drag strip could also be used if realigned.
Beginning in 2012, Indianapolis Motor Speedway initiated the Super Weekend at the Brickyard which left the long-standing NASCAR Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series dates abandoned, each being run for the final time in the previous year. The slots these races occupied were filled by the Lilly Diabetes 250 at IMS and the Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway respectively. Following this development, the ARCA Racing Series became the lone national stock car racing series to sanction a race at the track, running the annual 200-lap event during Brickyard 400 weekend as NASCAR once did.
- SCCA Formula Super Vee Qualifying: Mark Smith, 19.581 sec. = 126.122 mph (202.974 km/h), May 27, 1989
- NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying: David Green, 21.766 sec. = 113.462 mph (182.599 km/h), August 5, 1994
- NASCAR Nationwide Series Race: Jimmy Hensley, 96.923 mph (155.982 km/h), June 22, 1985
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying: Joe Ruttman, 22.081 sec. = 111.843 mph (179.994 km/h), August 3, 2000
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race: Greg Biffle, 88.704 mph (142.755 km/h), August 5, 1999
2.5-mile road course
- 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 – Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals – since 1961
- ARCA Racing Series – Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 – since 2012
- Hoosier Grand Prix – USAC RRC, USAC National Championship, IMSA GT – 1961–1973
- NASCAR Xfinity Series (formerly Busch and Nationwide Series) – Kroger 200 – 1982–2011
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (formerly Craftsman Truck Series) – AAA Insurance 200 – 1995–2011
- Fast Masters – 1993
- Night before the 500 – Ceased running midgets in 2014, last ran with Silver Crown Cars in 2015.
- Phillips, David (June 15, 1989). "Quick Reactions". On Track Auto Racing Magazine: 24.
- "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.