The Indianapolis Speedrome, USAC’s most active track through its first 58 years, returns May 23 after a three-year hiatus, hosting the USAC HPD Midwest Pavement Midget Series. The series will return to the one-fifth paved oval for a repeat performance August 30.
A total of 496 USAC events have graced the facility since USAC’s debut in 1956 and the track is expected to host its historic 500th USAC race in the near future. No other race track is close in terms of total USAC events.
New ownership and a new race organizer are in place for the historic track, located on the southeast edge of the capital city. Former Indy-Car chief mechanic and team manager Larry Curry will handle the reins for co-owners Pete Watson and Jeff Hammel with an emphasis on returning the oval to prominence in the open-wheel racing community. Numerous improvements are planned, including resurfacing.
“As the new managing partner of the Speedrome I would like to say we are all very excited about having the HPD USAC midgets on our schedule for two races in 2014,” says Curry. “All of the new owners are very committed to returning the Speedrome to its prominence of years past where USAC was a large part of the midget racing. We all want this to be the start of a great new era of midget racing at the track.”
Gene Hartley, winner of USAC’s inaugural event at Fort Wayne, Ind. in 1956, also had the distinction of grabbing the first USAC checkered flag at the Speedrome, in August of 1958. The ensuing years of various forms of USAC racing have produced 163 different winners, led by six-time Speedrome Midget Champion Michael Lang, who posted 53 victories. All-time USAC leaders Rich Vogler and Mel Kenyon recorded 32 and 21 victories respectively, while Ross Rankine grabbed the last Speedrome feature in 2011.
“Obviously we are delighted to be able to return to the Indianapolis Speedrome,” echoes USAC’s Eric Rankine. “No track has as much USAC history as it does and it feels like home to be back. I’m, sure it will be a fun experience for us and our participants.”