History of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

The Museum’s origin is generally attributed to an idea conceived by Anton Hulman Jr. (the Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner) as early as 1947, which likely was refined over the next eight years in discussions among Karl Kizer (owner of Century Tire Co. and the Museum’s first curator), Hulman, and Wilbur Shaw (three-time winning driver) on their various hunting trips in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  Reportedly, Kizer offered to donate Fred Frame’s 1932 winning car, which had come into his possession.  He also reported that the winning cars from 1911 and 1912, plus Shaw’s victorious Maserati of 1939 and 1940, were readily available.  Shaw’s death in October 1954 is often cited as the instigating factor in getting the plans for the museum under way.

The Museum was opened 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.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame

The Auto Racing Hall of Fame was established in 1952 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 by the Contest Board of 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.

In 2018, the name was changed to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, and the criteria for enshrinement was expanded to include stars of the Brickyard 400 and United States Grand Prix. Early each year, a committee of more than 130 drivers, team owners, auto racing journalists, motorsports participants, and historians select inductees from a ballot of nominees. In May, the 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 the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.

The Foundation

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation) was organized in 1957 as a private foundation to administer the business of the Museum. Its initial Board of Directors consisted of J.R. Cloutier, Mrs. August Duesenberg, Anton Hulman, Jr., Karl Kizer, and Louis Schwitzer, Sr.

In 2006, the Foundation was designated as a publicly supported charity and it continues to operate as a nonprofit, self-sustaining organization recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations to the Foundation qualify for charitable deductions to the extent permitted by law and by the donor’s personal income tax circumstances.