Archive for April, 2016

Martin "Tope" Phillip (on the right) working alongside Jerry Govert in 1968 at the Nichels Engineering "Go-Fast Factory" in Griffith, Indiana

Martin “Tope” Phillip working alongside Jerry Govert in 1968 at the Nichels Engineering “Go-Fast Factory” in Griffith, Indiana


Martin “Tope” Phillips, 82 years of age passed away peacefully April 29, 2016.

“Tope” as he was known by all, was born in Griffith, Indiana to loving parents James William & Genevieve Phillips. Working at the salvage business his father started, he became mechanically inclined at a young age.

In the 1960’s through the early 1970’s Tope worked for Nichels Engineering in Griffith, Indiana. Nichels was Chrysler’s factory-backed NASCAR race division exclusive supplier of racecars, parts, and engines for all Chrysler race teams. He worked as a chassis fabricator at the one of the most well respected racecar construction operations in Ameria and was a member of several race winning pit crews as a gas man for the cars during NASCAR and USAC races. He was a crew member on several cars driven by current and future NASCAR and USAC Hall of Fame drivers.

After moving to Cocoa Beach in the late 1970’s Tope established a mobile auto repair business that he operated for 25 years. Tope then turned his efforts to community service. A very involved member of the Elks for 30+ years and an officer. He was the founder of the Space Coast Little League ongoing Annual Golf Tournament for 17 years.

A friend and mentor to many in the community as well as local city organizations. Tope was presented a key to the city in 2010, honored for his dedication to the city and youth programs. Tope was a follower of the Catholic faith and worshiped at Our Saviour’s Catholic Church. He is survived by 5 children, 4 grandchildren, and significant other, Jan Mulberry. Two daughters, Joanne (Artie) Olcott of Cocoa Beach and Julie Kabboord. Three sons, James Phillips of Cocoa Beach, Gene (Barbara) Phillips of Concord, NC and Marty (Tia) Phillips of Lighthouse Point, FL. Grandchildren Ashley (Craig) Tennyson, Marty Phillips, Rachel Kabboord, and Keith Phillips. He was proceeded in death by his loving wife of 53 years, Gloria “Glo” Phillips.

A visitation will be held at Beckman Williamson Funeral Home in Cocoa Beach on Thursday May 5th from 5-7pm. A mass will be held at Our Saviour’s Catholic Church on Friday May 6th at 10am. Family and friends are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cocoa Beach Elks Lodge 2387 or to Our Saviour’s Catholic School. You may sign Tope’s guestbook at


Martin “Tope” Phillps, along with Jerry Govert and Minnie Joyce was a mainstay at the Nichels Engineering “Go-Fast Factory”


The month of May only comes around once a year, and each time we are determined to pack it full of race-inspired traditions unlike anything you will experience outside the city of Indianapolis. From the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana” and the releasing of the balloons before the start, to the kissing of the bricks and the drinking of the milk by the winner upon finishing the race; the Indianapolis 500 is sure to awaken the race fan in all of us. The Indianapolis 500 is steeped in rich tradition and the 100th running will bring more parties, concerts, traditions, and upgrades than ever before.

500 Festival Kickoff to May

Monument Circle – Wednesday, May 4  at 11 am


Join the 500 Festival on Monument Circle as we kickoff the greatest month of the year – May! Dignitaries from the City of Indianapolis, the 500 Festival Board of Directors, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome attendees to the celebration and officially kick off the month of May! Indy’s favorite food trucks will be on hand, along with plenty of giveaways and prizes.

Front Porch Party

Harrison Center for the Arts – Friday, May 6 at 6 pm


The Residential Engagement Committee is hosting a public porch party at the Harrison Center for the Arts at 16th & Delaware on May 6 from 6-10 pm. Food trucks, live music, vintage race cars and original works of Indianapolis artists on display. Event is free and open to the public.

40th Annual Mini-Marathon

Downtown Indianapolis – Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 am


The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is one of the premier half-marathons in the country. This 500 Festival tradition will commence May 7 and will mark the 40th running of the race. Within its 39-year history, many stories have emerged around the excitement. From United States Olympian marathon runners, the arrival of international runners, to the family traditions, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon provides competition and camaraderie. The mini-marathon has sold out each of the past ten years, so register to save your spot in the race today. 

Festival on Main Street

Main Street in Speedway – Friday, May 13


In collaboration with the Indy Family Foundation, the Community Celebrations committee is blocking off Main Street Speedway to revive the popular family-friendly “Festival on Main” including live entertainment KidZone activities, food trucks, beer gardens, and more! This year, the “Concert on Main” provides live entertainment featuring national acts.  General admission to the event is free and open to the public.

Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run

Downtown Indianapolis – Saturday, May 14 at 10:30 am


Kids ages 3-10 are invited to join the Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run. This event is a non-competitive fun run complementing the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and is a great way for kids to stay physically fit and get in on the racing action. All participants will receive a goodie bag, a runners bib with the number 1, and a finisher’s medal – just like the Mini-Marathon participants.

Angie’s List Grand Prix

Indianapolis Motor Speedway –  Saturday, May 14 at 3:30 pm


The Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis serves as the lead-in to the Indianapolis 500, marking two weeks out from the big race. This will be the third annual Grand Prix race on the reconfigured road track at the Motor Speedway and is the perfect jump-start for racing in the month of May.

Indy Film Fest Roving Cinema featuring Winning

Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 pm


The Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis serves as the lead-in to the Indianapolis 500, marking two weeks out from the big race. This will be the third annual Grand Prix race on the reconfigured road track at the Motor Speedway and is the perfect jump-start for racing in the month of May.

Fast Friday

Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Friday, May 20 at 10 am


On this exciting day, drivers and crews hustle to find the perfect racing setup on the last day of practice before qualifications. Fast Friday is so called because drivers are looking for speed that they’ll use in qualifying and on Armed Forces Pole Day Sunday. Teams are allowed to turn up the boost on their engines to create more horsepower, as speeds are expected to be over 230 mph.

Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Reunion

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum – Friday, May 20


The Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Registry and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum are proud to host the 2016 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Reunion. Load in is May 20 but the event runs through May 22. Register your Corvette or stop by and check out the history of the Pace Car.

Rock-IN-Roar 500

Georgia Street – Friday, May 20


Host Committee’s signature event, Rock-IN-Roar 500, is a free music festival and community celebration that officially “drops the green flag” on Race Week in Indianapolis. All are invited to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event as 500 local musicians, led by some local music and racing stars in a musical tribute to the spirit of the 100th Indy 500. Local and national acts will also perform throughout the night, with star radio personality Kristi Lee serving as host and emcee.

Indianapolis 500 Qualifications

Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Saturday, May 21 at 8 am


The field narrows as the top 33 cars are locked into the grid.

Racing Through the Decades

Main Street in Speedway – Saturday, May 21 at 7 pm


The Residential Engagement Committee will host a decade-inspired tour throughout Main Street Speedway, Racing through the Decades. Taking place at the conclusion of the first day of Indy 500 qualifications, the community can take to Main to celebrate your favorite decade of the Indianapolis 500, hosted at Speedway’s best restaurants and bars. The event will feature vintage race cars, veteran drivers, live music, delicious food, and specialty cocktails. Event is free and open to the public.

Armed Forces Pole Day

Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Sunday, May 22 at 8 am


See who will win the 2016 pole position as the field of 33 faces off one final time before the big day. Gates open at 7:00 am and the cost is only $20.

Carb Day” featuring Journey

Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Friday, May 27


Miller Light Carb Day will kick off Memorial Day weekend with legendary rock band Journey as the festivities continue for the 100th Indianapolis 500 Race. Journey has entertained fans across the globe for more than four decades with a catalog full of hit albums and chart-topping singles that remain in heavy rotation on the radio today. Miller Lite Carb Day will again feature great action on and off the track as the field for the Indianapolis 500 will have one final hour of practice to prepare for the race, and the stars of the Indy Lights will participate in the Freedom 100 Race.

Speedway Rockin’ on Main

15th and Main Street, Speedway – Friday, May 27, 5:30 pm


Featuring live music by Second Story and Toy Factory. Food and drink must be purchased at the event, catered by Dawson’s on Main and Big Ron’s Bistro. The event location is just south of Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 15th and Main Street.

Legends Day” featuring Blake Shelton

Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Saturday, May 28


Country music superstar Blake Shelton will headline the annual Firestone Legends Day Concert the day before the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Well known for both his role as a judge on “The Voice” as well as his award-winning singing career, Shelton has 16 consecutive No. 1 singles and is one of the most successful country music artists to date. IMS Gates open at 8 am and concert venue gates open at 1 pm. Come check out the country legend as we prepare for the 100th Indy 500 Race.

Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade

Downtown Indianapolis – Saturday, May 28, 12 noon to 1:30 pm


Every year, more than half a million people participate in the 500 Festival’s programs and events which showcase the city on a world stage. The 500 Festival Parade is the only 500 Festival event that has taken place every year since 1957. The parade allows spectators to witness the pageantry and larger-than-life floats as they light up the streets of downtown Indianapolis. You won’t want to miss out on one of the nation’s premier parades, hitting the streets of downtown Indy on the day before the big race.

Keybank 500 Festival Snakepit Ball

Indiana Roof Ballroom – Saturday, May 28


On the eve of the big race, the Indiana Roof Ballroom will be transformed into a mystical black and white circus as attendees don their best race couture to walk the televised red carpet before joining the night circus and enjoying the festivities. The KeyBank 500 Festival Snakepit Ball is race weekend’s most exclusive party attracting celebrities and VIPs from across the nation to celebrate this momentous occasion. This year, Andrew Luck and Nicole Pechanec will co-host this event in what just might be the best one yet.

Bike to the 500

City Market – Sunday, May 29 at 7:30 am


In partnership with Indy Cog, the Residential Engagement Committee is organizing the first ever group bike ride to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the morning of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Participants will gather at Indianapolis City Market in downtown Indianapolis where they will enjoy music, a short welcome address, games, and food trucks before setting out on a safe group ride to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis Motor Speedway –  Sunday, May 29


The Greatest Spectacle in Racing is finally here! The wait is over and the time has come for the world’s largest single-day sporting event, as the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 has arrived. The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 has something for everyone, from children to those who have been attending for generations. Whether you’re continuing a tradition, or starting a new one, this is a race that can’t be missed. General Admission tickets start at $40 and can be purchased here.

Data sourced at Visit Indy

imsc0285The Indianapolis 500 is regarded as the “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” for good reason. In addition to being one of the races in the Triple Crown of Motorsports, along with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Grand Prix of Monaco, it’s the biggest, single-day sporting event in the world, drawing approximately 350,000 fans. 

Team Penske made its mark on the event by winning the 1972 edition with Mark Donohue, coming through on a promise that Roger Penske made to the Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) that the team would win the race within three years of signing their partnership agreement. 

By 1979, however, the team was still searching for a second Indy 500 win. Donohue, the lead driver and cornerstone of the team, tragically lost his life in a practice accident at the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix. The foundation of the team was shaken, but Team Penske would emerge as strong as ever thanks to an off-road racer from Bakersfield, California.

Rick Mears entered the gates of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1979 as a 3-time winner in INDYCAR competition with Team Penske, but had only made one start in the Indy 500. While he had shown tremendous potential in his short career, no one within the sport could anticipate the type of career he would have at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road. 

Much of the talk prior to the opening of practice in 1979 surrounded the six newly-formed CART series teams and the litigation between them and USAC, the sanctioning body for the race. Because they were initially rejected from competition the “Rejected Six,” as they were called, were not allowed to practice until the third day. This grouping included Team Penske and Mears. 

Mears wasted little time in showing the speed of his Penske/Cosworth as he shot to the top of the speed charts in his first day of practice. He was continually among the fastest cars for the month, culminating in the first of his record-six Indy 500 pole positions when qualifying concluded on Sunday, May 13.


The weather forecast for race day was bleak, but the overnight rain moved out and the outlook significantly improved. The race began with Al Unser Sr., who started on the outside of the front row, sweeping into the lead. He and brother, Bobby, dominated most of the day with Mears maintaining a position inside the top five. 

At Lap 103, Unser, Sr. lost a transmission, handing the lead over to his brother while Mears moved up to second place. Mears took the lead with 19 laps remaining and cruised to the first of his record-tying four Indianapolis 500 wins. Born in 1951, Mears became the first Indy 500 winner born after World War II. 


Since that win by Mears, Team Penske has scored 14 more Indy 500 wins with drivers like Helio Castroneves, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya, along with Mears. The current four-car lineup of Castroneves, Montoya, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud gives the team a legitimate shot in this year’s historic, 100th running of the Indianapolis 500

Data provided by Team Penkse

Links supplied and edited by SpeedwaySightings

Photography courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway



INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 27, 2016 – Three-time GRAMMY Award winner and multi-platinum recording artist Darius Rucker will perform the national anthem before the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Rucker will sing in the traditional spot on “500” Race Day before the 33 drivers are called to their cars and the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana.”

“With just over a month until our historic 100th Running, we are pleased to announce
Darius Rucker will perform the national anthem on Race Day,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “Darius has a unique set of skills as a musical artist and connects on a personal level with fans across the globe. We know he’ll deliver a performance befitting such a monumental day and help ensure this year’s pre-race, my own favorite time of the year, is an unforgettable experience.”

Rucker first attained multi-platinum status in the music industry as former lead singer and rhythm guitarist of GRAMMY-Award-winning Hootie & the Blowfish.

Since re-introducing himself to the world as a country artist, he has released four consecutive albums to top the Billboard Country albums chart and earned a whole new legion of fans.

“I’m honored to sing the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500 and to be invited to celebrate the milestone of the 100th Running,” said Rucker.
In 2014, Rucker won his third career GRAMMY Award for Best Solo Country Performance for his triple-platinum selling cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” off his album “True Believers.” Rucker’s first two country albums, “Learn To Live” and “Charleston, SC 1966” produced five No. 1 singles including “Come Back Song,” “This,” “Alright,” “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” and “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.”

“Southern Style,” his fourth studio country album, features his latest No. 1 single “Homegrown Honey,” co-written by Rucker, label mate Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum and Nathan Chapman. To learn more about Darius Rucker go to

The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil is May 29.

This year, fans are encouraged to get to IMS in the early morning hours to take advantage of the full 100th Running experience.

Highlights include live SportsCenter tapings in the plaza beginning at 8am and an expanded Fan Midway. Stay tuned for more updated on early pre-race opportunities as the 100th Running countdown continues.

Tickets are now on sale for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational, Lilly Diabetes 250, the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard and the Red Bull Air Race. Fans have three quick, convenient methods to buy tickets:

Online: Visit Tickets available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Phone: Call 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8am-5pm (ET) Monday thru Friday.
In Person: Visit the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building east of the 16th Street roundabout and outside Turn 1 of the oval between 8am-5pm (ET) Monday – Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at 866-221-8775 for more information.

Information on parking and camping at IMS events is available at


INDIANAPOLIS, April 2016 – A unique version of the new 2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition will lead the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next month, driven by motorsports legend Roger Penske, who is marking 50 years as a race team owner.

It’s the ninth time Camaro has served as the Pace Car and the 27th time for Chevrolet, dating to 1948.

“Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500 have a long, storied history and it’s an honor to mark the respective milestones of the Indy 500 race and the Camaro simultaneously,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development and Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “It’s also a privilege to have Roger Penske perform the driving duties, as his team has helped Chevrolet earn four consecutive IndyCar manufacturer titles since 2012.”

Four identically prepared Pace Cars will support the race, all with exclusive Abalone White exteriors featuring “100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil” graphics on the doors and the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway wing-and-wheel logo on the quarter panels. They also incorporate the exterior cues and graphics that are unique to the Camaro 50th Anniversary package that goes on sale this summer.

With 455 horsepower on tap, the Camaro SS Pace Cars require no performance modifications to lead the racing field.

Chevrolet and Roger Penske are inextricably linked to the heritage of the Indianapolis 500,” said J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “When he leads the pack on May 29, behind the wheel of the Camaro SS, he will drive the race into its next 100 years and strengthen the bond Chevrolet and Indianapolis forged a century ago.” 

For 2016, Chevrolet drivers will be looking to build on last year’s results of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” when the top four finishers were Chevy-powered, led by race winner and Team Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya. It was his second Indy 500 victory and the 16th for Team Penske. 

No other racing team has recorded more wins at the Brickyard, and it started with driver Mark Donohue‘s victory in 1972. Penske and Donohue established their relationship five years earlier, when Penske transitioned from driver to team owner. They quickly found success in SCCA’s Trans-Am Series, with Donohue piloting an early Camaro Z/28 racecar, winning three of 12 races in 1967 and 10 of 13 in 1968.

Penske tackled the Indy 500 for the first time in 1969, while still campaigning a Camaro in Trans-Am. Donohue was his driver for both series. Later, racers including Mario Andretti, Al Unser and Rick Mears and drove for Penske, with Mears winning four Indianapolis 500 races and helping solidify Team Penske as an Indy powerhouse in the 1980s. That legacy advances this year, as Roger Penske seeks his 17th Indy 500 title as a team owner.

Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition

The 50th Anniversary Edition honors the distinctive looks and performance that have always set the Camaro apart. It is offered on 2LT and 2SS coupe and convertible models, all with Nightfall Gray Metallic exteriors featuring a 50th Anniversary stripe package and badges – and a black top on convertibles.

The specially prepared Abalone White pace cars differ in exterior color, but share the Anniversary Edition package’s stripes and other content features, including:

  • Specific 20-inch 50th Anniversary wheels
  • Unique grille with satin chrome accents
  • Body-color front splitter
  • Orange brake calipers (front only on LT)
  • Unique black leather interior with suede inserts and orange accent stitching
  • Distinct 50th Anniversary treatments on instrument panel, seatbacks, steering wheel and illuminated sill plates
  • 2LT includes RS Appearance Package.

The Camaro 2LT comes standard with a 2.0L Turbo engine rated at 275 hp (205 kW) and a 335-hp (250 kW) 3.6L V-6 is available. The Camaro 2SS features the LT1 6.2L V-8, which offers 455 hp (339 kW), making it the most powerful Camaro SS ever. Each engine is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

Camaro pace cars through the years

  • 1967 – RS/SS convertible
  • 1969 – RS/SS convertible
  • 1982 – Z28 coupe
  • 1993 – Z28 coupe
  • 2009 – SS coupe (2010 model)
  • 2010 – SS coupe
  • 2011 – SS convertible
  • 2014 – Z/28 coupe
  • 2016 – Camaro SS (2017 50th Anniversary Edition).

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling around 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at


2016 Ticket Information: Tickets are now on sale for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational, Lilly Diabetes 250, the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard and the Red Bull Air Race. Fans have three quick, convenient methods to buy tickets:

Online: Visit Tickets are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Phone: Call 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
In Person: Visit the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building east of the 16th Street roundabout and outside Turn 1 of the oval between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at 866-221-8775 for more information.


INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 26 – With the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil just around the corner, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has released a new and improved IMS Mobile App. 

This free app will be a must-have for all important information and events happening at IMS. To find it on the Apple or Android App Store, search “IMS Mobile” and select the “Brickyard Mobile” app. Once downloaded, everything you need from buying tickets to parking to daily schedules will be in the palm of your hand. This handy tool will even send you up-to-the-minute notifications whenever something major happens.

“The new IMS app will be another tool to help IMS visitors take full advantage of their experience as they come back for an epic Month of May,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles. “As we welcome our largest crowd in years for the 100th Indianapolis 500, the app will provide assistance navigating IMS and staying up-to-date with the schedule and other activities, including the festivities planned for this year’s Race Day.”

New Features on the App include:

  • Point-to-Point navigation, which provides the fastest routes to the facility from all directions around IMS. Whether you are coming from out of state or from anywhere in Indiana, this app will give you directions on how to best arrive at the racetrack. Fans are encouraged to download directions before they begin their journey to IMS to take advantage of faster internet speeds in lower-populated areas
  • Interactive track maps, allowing fans access to the quickest routes throughout the facility. For example, if you are a spectator looking for the quickest way to get from your parking lot to Gate 1, this app will tell you exactly how to get there.
  • Updated photo galleries, news and results sections, delivering more information and statistics.
  • Refreshed design and an easier user experience with quick access to features you want at home or during your visit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Again, the app is available now through the Apple and Android App Stores. The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil is May 29.


Tickets are now on sale for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational, Lilly Diabetes 250, the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard and the Red Bull Air Race. Fans have three quick, convenient methods to buy tickets:

Online: Visit Tickets are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Phone: Call 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

In Person: Visit the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building east of the 16th Street roundabout and outside Turn 1 of the oval between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at 866-221-8775 for more information. 

Information on parking and camping at IMS events is available at


The Indianapolis Motor Speedway® Foundation is pleased to announce that legendary motorcycle racer and stock car driver Paul Goldsmith will be inducted this year into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame. Selected by a distinguished panel of more than 100 experts in auto racing, Goldsmith and fellow inductee; U.E “Pat” Patrick bring to 152 the number of individuals who have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to the sport of racing and to the development of the automotive industry. The Auto Racing Hall of Fame, founded in 1952, is located at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
Goldsmith enjoyed a career so diversified that references to him having won at Milwaukee, Langhorne or Daytona Beach require clarification as to whether the event in question was for two wheels or four. After finishing second to his protégé Joe Leonard (a fellow Hall of Famer) in the 1954 American Motorcyclist Association championship, Goldsmith started driving National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) stock cars for Smokey Yunick. Later teaming up with Ray Nichels, and Nichels Engineering, Goldsmith finished second in the 1960 United States Auto Club (USAC) stock car championship and then won the title in 1961 and 1962, amassing 18 wins in 39 starts during that period. He rarely took part in open-wheel competition but did compete in the Indianapolis 500 six times, finishing third in 1960.


Goldsmith and Patrick will be honored on May 26, 2016, at the annual Hall of Fame Banquet presented by Pennzoil and held in collaboration with the International Association of Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers. Gathering with about 800 of their closest friends and colleagues in auto racing, the two groups also will honor Rick Mears for his four Indianapolis 500 wins and other contributions to the sport. Mears was inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1998. They also are honoring the current Indianapolis 500 champion, Juan Pablo Montoya, and the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, Scott Dixon.

Patrick enjoyed 45 victories as a team owner in USAC or Championship Auto Racing Teams competition. His entries won the 1973 and 1982 Indianapolis 500-Mile races and the 1976 USAC National Championship title with driver Gordon Johncock. He also won the 1989 Indianapolis 500 and the CART championship title with former two-time World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi. Patrick’s team enjoyed many successes between 1973 and 1980 with chief mechanic George Bignotti. In addition to Johncock and Fittipaldi, his roster of notable drivers included Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Wally Dallenbach, Roberto Guerrero, Raul Boesel, Kevin Cogan, Chip Ganassi and Jimmy Vasser.

“Region Racers” — Ray Nichels

By: Wm. LaDow
Speedway Sightings

April 18, 2016

By the time Hoosier Ray Nichels got around to the Month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1957, he had already set the racing world on its collective ear.

It started in February, when at the request of Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, head of the Pontiac Division at General Motors, Nichels and his team of Dale “Tiny” Worley, Pat O’Connor, Dick Rathmann, and Ed Oldert ventured to Daytona. Once there, the Nichels Engineering team performed in record breaking fashion. Nichels and his two NASCAR drivers, Banjo Matthews and Cotton Owens, captured the pole (Matthews) and won the race. (Owens) 

This undertaking was accomplished at a record-setting speed of 101.541 miles per hour, on a race course just over 4 miles in length. One straightaway was the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and the other an asphalt strip known as South Atlantic Avenue, named so, due to its being part of Route A1A, that begins just below the Georgia state line and runs to the Key West International Airport.


His chief racing partner through this period was North Vernon, Indiana native Pat O’Connor, who Ray was introduced to as his new driver in 1955. O’Connor had made his Indy debut in the 1954 race and gained the respect of his racing peers by virtue of his stellar skills. On top of his initial Indy success, O’Connor had built a strong career as an AAA sprint car driver winning back-to-back Midwest Sprint Championships in 1953 and 1954, a feat never before accomplished. O’Connor was intelligent, articulate, tremendously talented and one of the smoothest drivers on the AAA circuit.

Nichels and O’Connor’s next stop was at the behest of Firestone in the month of April. The two Hoosier racers were directed to go to Europe to do tire testing for a terribly important race that was scheduled to be run June 29, 1957. A year earlier, Duane Carter, Director of Competition for United States Auto Club, and Giuseppe Bacciagaluppi, President of the Automobile Club of Milan, formulated a plan to pit America’s 10 best open-wheel drivers against 10 of their European Grand Prix counterparts. An auto racing competition like this had never been attempted. With World War II just a dozen years past, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pit the world’s best drivers against one another. It was officially labeled the “500 Miglia Di Monza.” It later became known as the “Race of Two Worlds” and ultimately know as “Monzanapolis.”


The site of this epic challenge was the Autodromo di Monza, located on the former palatial estate of the King of Italy, about 12 miles north of Milan. The speed complex consisted of both a road course and a newly built speedway. The new high-speed track was just over 2.6 miles long, with two long straightaways held together by two 38-degree banked turns. By comparison, the banking at Indianapolis was only nine degrees, and the turns at Darlington were in their mid-20s. This was clearly the world’s first truly high-banked super-speedway. It was constructed of reinforced, precast concrete sections that had been erected to form the race circuit. The concern among the racing community was that the high speeds on the terribly rough Monza track might be too taxing on the tires. A resulting tire failure at high speed could be catastrophic at a track so highly banked. That meant that Nichels and O’Connor, under contract to Firestone, had to conduct tire tests at Monza to gain an understanding of the challenges of racing on such a circuit.

Over the course of the few days they toiled at Monza, the Ray Nichels-prepped Hemi-powered Kurtis-Kraft, in the hands of O’Connor, eclipsed a series of world speed records. Pat ran a total of 226 miles at an average speed of 163.377 mph and for good measure he set the track benchmark when he turned a lap at a staggering 170 mph. When the news reached the outside world, there was a collective gasp. In the weeks following, the European race driver community slowly began to withdraw their commitments to the race at Monza. O’Connor and Nichels had run so fast, they had put a chill into the Monza air. It soon began to appear that the only racers who were willing to run the high banks of Monza were Pat O’Connor and his American teammates.

With that task completed; Nichels and O’Connor returned to the States. Next on Nichels Engineeering’s racing agenda was America’s palace of speed, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Nichels and O’Connor had been planning for this Indianapolis 500 since the final lap of last years race. In 1956, after starting on the front row, a failed magneto late in the race robbed him of his chance to finish with the leaders. In 1955, with just a handful of laps left, they were in a position to win the race. While chasing eventual race winner Bob Sweikert (who was running very low on fuel), O’Connor’s mount was felled by a failed fuel fitting worth no more than a couple of dollars.

For the 1957 Indianapolis 500, Nichels and O’Connor had a new car owner, a Terre Haute, Indiana industrialist by the name of Chapman Root. The Root family earned their fortune, first by being glass makers, beginning in 1901. The Root Glass Company earned their second fortune by being the glass firm that patented the design of the cocoa-pod shaped Coca-Cola bottle in 1915. The company was not only a major producer of glass bottles to Coca-Cola, they also reported received five cents in royalties for every gross of coca–cola bottles produced by any other glass maker. The Root family eventually left the glass manufacturing business and during the next 30 years, Roots’ Associated Coca-Cola Bottlers became the nation’s largest independent Coke bottler with plants scattered across the United States.Indy

When Chapman Root came to race at Indianapolis, he came in earnest. He started with plans to enter three cars in the May Classic. For 1957, Root’s flagship entry was Pat O’Connor in the No. 12 Sumar Special Kurtis-Kraft 500G2-710 Roadster. Nichels personally oversaw the construction of the O’Connor’s car during the previous winter, spending several weeks working at the Kurtis-Kraft factory in Southern California, assembling the car himself before it was shipped east.

On Pole Day, May 18th, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway filled with an all-time qualifications record crowd, estimated at 150,000 fans, to see the greatest drivers in the world claim their place in the May classic. With 19 cars already in line for the 11am start for qualifying, it began to rain. For almost four hours it drenched the speedway. Then a break in the weather finally allowed qualifying to start. Nichels and O’Connor calmly waited for their opportunity. When it came, just at like Monza, O’Connor slowly pulled out of the pits onto the immense speedway. As Pat gathered speed, Nichels could hear the Offy running smoothly as he disappeared into the first turn. The engine sounded as strong as ever as O’Connor began to gain speed running down the backstretch. Following his warm up, O’Connor did what he had been doing all week, running smooth and fast. His best lap, at 144.046 mph, brought his four lap qualifying average up to 143.948 mph.

The rains finally ended the day’s qualifying with nine cars making the race. Irishman O’Connor could be seen smiling as he stood in the rain, realizing his childhood dream: being on the pole at Indianapolis. It was a dream shared by many, as O’Connor, Ray Nichels and Chapman Root had just become the first All-Hoosier race team ever to claim the pole for the world’s greatest race.

So impressive was his collective performance during the course this four month period, Ray Nichels was named Indianapolis 500 “Mechanic of the Year” clearly making him our best “Region Racer.”


Photos from the Nichels Engineering Archives and the Indianapolis  Motor Speedway


By: Staff

A longtime partner and sponsor in Indy car racing, MillerCoors has reached a multiyear partnership agreement with INDYCAR that will see the second-largest brewer in the United States become the official beer and cider of INDYCAR and activate its status in many Verizon IndyCar Series race markets.

“We’re delighted to welcome MillerCoors back to INDYCAR and excited to add another commercial partner to the Verizon IndyCar Series,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The key to this partnership is MillerCoors’ plans to activate in many of our race markets, which we’re confident is an essential component in furthering the momentum of the Verizon IndyCar Series this season.”

Coors Light will serve as the lead brand of the INDYCAR partnership, but other MillerCoors products will be integrated into the program.

MillerCoors brands have enjoyed iconic status in Indy car racing dating to the 1970s when Miller Brewing Company began a team sponsorship role that lasted nearly three decades. Drivers the caliber of Al Unser, Danny Sullivan and Bobby Rahal all raced with sponsorship from Miller brands, including Sullivan’s improbable “spin and win” performance in the 1985 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race that remains today as one of the favorites in Indy 500 lore.

Sullivan (1988) and Rahal (1992) each drove to an Indy car season championship carrying the colors of Miller brands. Miller was also a longtime race title sponsor of the annual Indy car race at The Milwaukee Mile.

The Coors brands debuted in Indy car racing with another legend, Al Unser Jr., whose first season of competition in 1983 came with Coors Light sponsorship. Unser Jr. won the first of his two Indianapolis 500s in 1992 with sponsorship from Molson, another MillerCoors brand. Other Indy car drivers who have raced Indy cars with sponsorship from Coors brands include Pancho Carter, Robby Gordon, Buddy Lazier and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.

The MillerCoors relationship with Hulman & Co. began with Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 under the Miller Lite brand. MillerCoors is the official beer sponsor of IMS, and will present the May 27 Miller Lite Carb Day and the Coors Light Snake Pit concert on race day.

Today’s announcement furthers an already strong relationship with the Verizon IndyCar Series. In February, MillerCoors announced that Coors Light would be the official beer of the Grand Prix of Boston Powered by LogMeIn this September. The brewer also will be an associate sponsor with Penske Racing on Juan Pablo Montoya’s car for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, through its Henry’s Hard Soda brand.

“Becoming the official beer sponsor of the Verizon IndyCar Series perfectly rounds out our activation and consumer engagement with the sport,” said Adam Dettman, director of sports and entertainment marketing at MillerCoors. “Whether it’s through the league sponsorship, track and race alliances, or our long-standing partnership with Penske Racing, we’ll use our portfolio of brands to connect with race fans and add to the excitement surrounding the sport.”

The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season continues with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17 and includes the highly anticipated 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29. For information on the series, its 16-race schedule and the 100th Running of the Indy 500, visit — For more information on MillerCoors, visit

Al Unser Jr.
Danny Sullivan
Bobby Rahal

To view more classic MillerCoors cars, visit the PHOTO GALLERY

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