Brownsburg votes to annex Lucas Oil Raceway

August 8, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Is Brownsburg rivaling Speedway as the auto racing epicenter in central Indiana?

Maybe not yet, but it certainly is growing its racing enterprises faster than Speedway. Last month Brownsburg arguably made its biggest coup of all, and did it all while drawing very little attention.

I had heard rumblings that Brownsburg was angling to annex the racing complex formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park. But when I was reporting a story about life after NASCAR at the track in Clermont, I was surprised to discover that the annexation was all but a done deal.

The Brownsburg Town Council voted on July 21 to annex 2,200 acres, including the 267-acre racing venue. And Brownsburg officials said they’ll work with the track to develop the surrounding land, possibly into other racing-related ventures.

Lucas Oil Raceway will officially change its address to Brownsburg in late October, according to Dale Cheatham, Brownsburg town manager.

Brownsburg is home to about two dozen National Hot Rod Association drag racing teams and a handful of other race teams.

“We think there’s a lot we can do with our chamber of commerce and the other race teams to work collaboratively with the track,” Cheatham said.

By annexing the land, Brownsburg will get tax revenue from Lucas Oil Raceway, but NHRA officials think the benefits outweigh the costs.

“We think the annexation deal could really bring some energy to the track,” said Raceway General Manager Wes Collier. “It adds to Brownsburg’s reputation as a racing Mecca and obviously it could help us, too. We haven’t worked out all the details yet of how this will work.”

Mike Lewis, senior vice president of Don Schumacher Racing and the general manager of Lucas Oil Raceway from 1995-98, said the National Hot Rod Association teams in Brownsburg are excited about the annexation.

“There are better than two-thirds of the top NHRA teams based here in Brownsburg, and this just seems to make a lot of sense,” Lewis said. “I think there are going to be a lot of synergies, and I think you’ll see Brownsburg continue to be a magnet for teams and other companies involved in racing.”

Lewis pointed out that many of the companies that work on IndyCar Series cars also work on NHRA drag cars, and added that Brownsburg also is becoming more attractive for IndyCar-related firms.

Speaking of IndyCar, a couple of well-placed sources within NHRA racing who have close ties to Lucas Oil Raceway said there have been discussions about bringing an IndyCar race to Lucas Oil Raceway’s 0.686-mile oval. It’s not clear if that would be a Lights race or the big boys.

Collier said he hadn’t heard of any discussions.

“I’ll say this,” Collier said. “If it’s something the IndyCar Series thought they could make happen, it’s definitely something we’d be willing to look at.”

And while IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said the idea hasn’t come across his desk, he added that the idea interests him.

“I’m open to it, but I’d need to see all the facts,” Bernard said. “That’s something I’d need to sit down with my entire team to weigh it out.”

Since there are more IndyCar fans in central Indiana than anywhere else in the nation, “I definitely think it would be a popular event, and a very different kind of race than you’d see at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Collier added.

But the much faster speeds of an IndyCar could make it difficult. Even the Lights cars, which are a bit slower than the top-tier IndyCar Series cars, might be tough.

The track has hosted IndyCar tests. Scott Sharp circled the oval in 1997 to shake out his car and Ed Carpenter ran the circuit to see what was possible in an Indy Lights car in 2002.

“It has been looked at,” said Tony George Jr., who heads up the Indy Lights series, the top feeder circuit for the IndyCar Series.

George, the son of former IndyCar Series and IMS CEO Tony George, said the difficulty goes beyond the cars’ speed.

“Given the horsepower and configuration of the cars and the configuration of the track, it was deemed not to be a very good match,” George said.

George explained that the best racing line around Lucas Oil Raceway’s oval is along the outer wall, and passing on the low side for an IndyCar or Lights car would be difficult.




  • Respect for IMS
    Indy Cars in Indy belong on one track, and that is the big one in May. Lights, F2000 and Star Mazda? I can see that. But NO to the Indy Cars in Clermont.
    • Road course
      Why don't they build up the road course? Sure it doesn't have elevation changes of Mid Ohio or Elkhart Lake but road racing out there could be good. In fact, the Indy cars ran there in the 60's. IIRC the rc is more on par with Brainerd MN.
    • Wait, what?
      IndyCars? Really!? I suppose you are just reporting what you are told, Anthony, but that just sounds plainly ridiculous. Your buddy Robin must be rolling in laughter reading that.

    • Here's the better idea
      USAC Midgets, Sprints, Silver Crown, Star Mazda, and Indy Lights over a four-day racefest at Labor Day weekend. A week later run the IndyCars at Chicagoland, with discount tickets available to those who attend the Brownsburg events.
    • Labor Day Weekend
      I'm pretty sure there is already an event there on Labor Day Weekend.

    Post a comment to this blog

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    1. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

    2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

    3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

    4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

    5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.