Past Exhibits

Hoosier Thunder: Indiana’s Short Track Heritage

(November 2018 – April 2019)

“Hoosier Thunder: Indiana’s Short Track Heritage,” opened on Nov. 8, 2018, receiving rave reviews from racing historians and aficionados.

Hoosier Thunder told the story of the many drivers and families who have made Indiana short-track racing a way of life: surnames such as Carter, Darland, Elliott, Kenyon, and Kinser among others. It also honors the drivers, such as three- and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, respectively, who made a name for themselves on Indiana bullrings on their journey to superstardom.

The exhibit was the largest in the IMS Museum’s 60-year history, with 41 Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown series cars along with many trophies, drivers’ suits, helmets, and artifacts. A floor-to-ceiling wall map listed the name and location of every known oval short track used for motorized competition that has existed in the state of Indiana.

Nine decades of USAC (United States Auto Club) race car development were on display, from a 1937 Dreyer Special midget, to the car that carried a young Jeff Gordon to his first USAC midget victory, to Kody Swanson’s 2018 Silver Crown Series championship-winning car.

Hoosier Thunder was made possible by exhibit sponsors Driven2SaveLives, Toyota, and Hoosier Racing Tire. The exhibit closed April 21, 2019.

More than 40 cars are part of "Hoosier Thunder" at the IMS Museum.

Amazing Unsers: From Albuquerque to Indianapolis

(April 2018 – November 2018)

Twenty-five cars that the Unser family drove in competition are on display, including eight of the nine that took them to victory in the Indianapolis 500, starting with the Rislone Eagle that powered Bobby Unser to victory 50 years ago this May.

“For the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum to honor my family is just tremendous. It’s really hard to put into words how much it actually means,” said Al Unser Jr., two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. “As you go through the exhibit you are going to see my dad’s career, my uncle Bobby’s career, my whole family’s career on display here, it’s just a huge honor and we’re very excited and we truly hope everyone enjoys what we’ve put our heart and soul into.”

“It’s really nice of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum to honor the Unser family. To showcase all the Unsers at a track where so many great names have raced is very special for us,” said Bobby Unser, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner.

In addition to several of the IndyCars made famous by the Unsers, many incredible machines representing their career in USAC, road racing and NASCAR are on display, some for the first time. Visitors will also see rare memorabilia from the drivers, and can take an audio tour featuring the voices of Al Unser, Al Unser Jr., Bobby Unser, Parnelli Jones and Roger Penske.

“Every wall and room in my house is filled with racing memorabilia – even the kitchen,” said Bobby Unser, who loaned some very special items for the exhibit from each of his three Indianapolis 500 wins, Pikes Peak, National Championships, Champ cars, sprint cars, Formula 1, and other special races. May 2018 represents the 50th anniversary of his first Indy win.



Incredible Engines of the Indy 500

(November 2017 – April 2018)

Incredible Engines of the Indy 500 was a tribute to the heroes of horsepower that have propelled drivers to victory in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The exhibit included the opportunity to see some of these famous engines up close and learn about the masterminds that designed these power plants, many of whom have taken their place in the Auto Racing Hall of Fame alongside the drivers they helped send to Victory Lane. Visitors heard the roar of the powerful Novi, and the “whoosh” of the turbine engine, while a “parts petting zoo” offered a chance to learn more about what made an Offenhauser go.

Camaro: 50 Years of Setting the Pace

Presented by Bill Estes Chevrolet

(November 2017 – March 2018)

This exhibit celebrated one of the most famous names in speed and style. The exhibit offered an opportunity to see Camaros that have served as official pace cars at the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 races. Ten of the 12 cars on display led the racing fields to the green flag and were driven by racing legends or Hollywood celebrities.

Featured cars included the first Camaro pace car, a 1967 SS convertible from the first model year of the new “pony car,” as well as the orange-and-white restyled 1969 SS convertible, one of the most popular pace cars in Indianapolis 500 history. Also on display was the Z28 Camaro that paced the 1982 race, as well as the SS editions that led the field for both the 100th Anniversary of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing in 2011, and the 100th Running of the World’s Greatest Race in 2016.

John Orfe Auto Racing Art Exhibit

(October 2017 – March 2018)

This specially curated exhibition highlighted the auto racing artwork of the late John Orfe. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Orfe began a life-long love affair with motor racing after seeing his first auto race at the famous circular Langhorne Speedway in 1932. Orfeo established himself as a commercial artist specializing in automotive and aircraft design for Ford, Chrysler, Volkswagen and Boeing, and his historic auto racing paintings were seen in several publications, including Speed Age, Circle Track, and Open Wheel.

The paintings on display in the Museum’s gallery depicted auto racing legends including Mario Andretti, Mark Donohue, Parnelli Jones and Joe Leonard. Several items from Mr. Orfe’s personal collection were also on display in the Museum’s gallery.

A.J. Foyt, A Legendary Exhibition

Presented by ABC Supply Co inc.

(April 2017 – October 2017)

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of his record-setting fourth Indianapolis 500 win, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum presented a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit honoring auto racing icon A.J. Foyt, tracing the superstar’s rise from the dirt tracks of Texas to the pinnacle of auto racing history.

Nearly three dozen cars that Foyt drove in competition were on display, including all four of his Indianapolis 500 winning machines, the 1961 Bowes Seal Fast Special, 1964 & 1967 Sheraton-Thompson Specials, and the 1977 Gilmore Coyote. In addition to several of Foyt’s Indy cars, many incredible machines from his career in NASCAR, USAC and road racing, as well as rare memorabilia from his personal collection, were on display.

Indiana Automobiles

(December 2016 – March 2017)

In honor of Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum presented Indiana Automobiles: Precision Over Production celebrating legendary Hoosier manufacturers like Stutz, Dusenberg, Studebaker and Marmon with a collection of more than 35 historic, Indiana-built passenger cars.

In partnership with private owners and other automotive museums around the state, the selected vehicles included some of the finest examples of each manufacturer. Several classic cars made their first appearance at the Museum (and in some cases, their first public appearance ever), making this a truly historic collection. In addition to the Hoosier passenger cars, a number of Indiana-built race cars were displayed, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher’s 1905 Premier.