The Indianapolis Motor Speedway® Museum, located five miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis on the grounds of the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway®, is recognized as one of the most highly visible museums in the world devoted to automobiles and auto racing. In 1987, the Speedway grounds were honored with the designation of National Historic Landmark.
Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr. and Karl Kizer, the Museum’s first director, established a museum in 1956 to display race vehicles and memorabilia, principally associated with the Indianapolis 500 race. The first Museum building was located at the southwest corner of the Speedway’s property where the Speedway’s Administration Building now stands. It was large enough only to display a few vintage race cars. Before long, it was obvious something more substantial was needed.
During 1975, Hulman built the larger, more modern Museum facility within the Speedway oval, its opening coinciding with the United States Bicentennial celebration in 1976. Constructed of pre-cast cement and Wyoming quartz, the Museum’s display space measures approximately 30,000 square feet. The building also houses two gift shops owned by the Speedway, the track’s retail photography store, and other offices.
The Auto Racing Hall of Fame was established to perpetuate the names and memories of prominent personalities for their outstanding contributions to the sport of racing and to the development of the entire automotive industry. Organized in 1952 by the American Automobile Association, the Hall of Fame admitted inductees in 1952, 1953, and 1954. Operations were suspended until Tony Hulman revived the Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1962. He moved it from Detroit to Indianapolis, where it joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s offices at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road.
Early each year, a committee of racing historians, representatives of the media, veteran members of the racing fraternity, and officials of the United States Auto Club select the year’s inductees. In May, the Auto Racing Hall of Fame honors these outstanding contributors to auto racing – including drivers, chief mechanics, automotive engineers and designers, team owners, journalists, historians, and racetrack officials. The Museum is home to a display of the names of the Hall of Fame members and are working on a project to present detailed information on each inductee both in the Museum and on this website. We have added information about and memorabilia from our 2015 inductees, Phil Casey and Mari Hulman George, to our exhibits.
As noted below, the Museum’s collection encompasses race cars from many series: IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One, Sprint, Midget, motorcycle races, and drag racing. It also includes a variety of passenger automobiles, many of which were manufactured in Indiana by companies that once had ties to racing. These include spectacular examples of Duesenberg, Marmon, and Stutz marques, as well as Ferrari, Mercedes, and a variety of other European passenger car makers. The collection encompasses motorcycles, dragsters, cars and other vehicles that have set world land speed records at various points in history.
About one quarter of the Museum’s estimated 135,000 annual visitors tour the Museum during May, the month of the annual Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.