The Indiana State Fair Commission has announced the mile-long "Track of Champions" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds will be converted from a dirt track to an all-weather track. As a result, the U.S. Auto Club says this year’s Hoosier Hundred race will be the last to be held at the track.
The commission says the new version of the track will be made of crushed limestone, which will allow for year-round harness racing. It will also mean the current half-mile track located inside the fairgrounds will be eliminated, which will allow for a more efficient parking plan for the Indiana State Fair and other key events.
"The Indiana State Fair Commission is pleased that the track conversion will improve safety, enhance the guest experience and allow for the continuation of harness racing," Cindy Hoye, executive director of Indiana State Fair Commission, said in a news release. "However, we also recognize the storied history that this track has played in auto racing and we encourage the public to attend the Hoosier Hundred and pay homage to the race."
The final Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds will be held May 23. The USAC says it is currently exploring possible venues that could host the race in 2020 and beyond.
"USAC, Track Enterprises, Bob Sargent and I have been in meetings with the Fairgrounds staff and in discussion for the last two years about any way to keep auto racing at the historic one-mile oval," said Levi Jones, series coordinator for the USAC. "To no avail, the economics of the horse industry and their desire to use the one-mile track year-round instead of the half-mile currently in the infield won out in the end."
The commission says the transition means that the availability of one-mile track parking during the State Fair will no longer be weather dependent.