Back to the future: Speedway to host vintage-car race event

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway continues to diversify its offerings.

Less than six months after announcing they would hold the first IndyCar road race at the venerable track in May, IMS officials said Tuesday that they will host a weekend of racing featuring hundreds of vintage cars on June 6-8.

The event will be sanctioned by The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association. The old models will compete on the Speedway's road course and oval.

The SVRA is one of the oldest and largest vintage racing organizations in the U.S. It has conducted events at legendary racetracks throughout the country, including Sebring, Road America, Watkins Glen International, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Circuit of the Americas.

SVRA officials are promising real racing at the event. Some of the drivers will be amateurs, while others are likely to include former Indianapolis 500 drivers and retired Formula One and NASCAR stars.

Cars will compete in 12 different classes. The races will showcase a wide variety of cars, including those that competed in past Indianapolis 500s, cars from the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, Formula One racers, Grand-Am prototypes and Trans-Ams. American racing cars from makes like Chevrolet will compete with historic cars from foreign makers such as Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar and MG.

The track that once existed for the sole purpose of hosting the Indianapolis 500 in May will host races this year featuring NASCAR stock cars, motorcycles, sports cars and now vintage cars, in addition to the new IndyCar road race in early May and the Indy 500 later in the month.

The move is bound to draw criticism from traditionalists who think Speedway officials have diluted the history of the facility by bringing in too many races. Speedway officials say they simply are changing with the times and see the vintage car event as a big coup.

"Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans appreciate and enjoy the history of racing, and welcoming this event to IMS is the perfect way to celebrate racing history with cars that have competed in all different classes and many different venues over the last 100 years," said Speedway President Doug Boles in a statement.

"SVRA events are incredibly fan-friendly, offering everyone the rare opportunity to get close to the historic race cars, talk to the owners and drivers, and trade stories about racing's heritage," Boles said.

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