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Your Town Friday: Racing Capital of the World

Indianapolis, Ind. - The destination for this week's Your Town Friday is a no-brainer! We're checking out the Racing Capital of the World.

In 1909, four men bought land to build a race track. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was on the map well before the town of Speedway was. In fact, Speedway took shape 17 years later.

Carl Fisher, one of Speedway's four founders, envisioned the town as the first "horseless city." He wanted an automobile-driven, comfortable town for families that would help balance the industrial areas being developed by the track.

Five hundred and seven people moved to Speedway and that number tripled within four years. More than 12,000 people call Speedway home today.

"When you think back 100 years ago, the automobile industry was created in this area," said Scott Jasek, co-owner of the Dallara IndyCar Factory on Main Street. "A lot of people think it’s Detroit, but more cars were built in Indiana. And this street in particular, when you look across the street, we have the original Allison Transmission building. One hundred years ago, this was a hot bed of automobile manufacturing."

Jasek says when they built the Dallara IndyCar Factory, they were among the first on Main Street.

"If you think about six or seven years ago, this was just an empty old beat up street," said Jasek. "Now it’s revitalized and the theme of racing is here."

It is, after all, the Racing Capital of the World!

Today, Main Street is beefed up with race teams and restaurants.

Inside the Dallara IndyCar Factory, you can explore 23,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and walk through a tunnel filled with IndyCar blueprints and design concepts.

And while you're there, know a lot is happening behind the scenes, too!

"The factory in the back, Dallara, is producing the IndyCars," said Jasek. "The new cars are being designed and built back there right now. On the other side of the wall is where the Indy Racing Experience exists with the two-seater IndyCar and there’s an engine shop and paint shop. So there’s a lot of activity going on all the time here."

"You can come in here and you can learn how IndyCars are built and you can learn about Mr. Dallara. He’s a real person! He's a very famous car builder out of Italy. So you can come in and learn the history about who he is. There’s a lot of interactive stuff in here that you can learn about such as carbon fiber and aerodynamics."

"At times you can tour the back and see the cars being built, but that’s not always available because of what’s happening back there with the new car. A lot of things are kept secret."

The Dallara Simulator lets drivers, engineers and race teams work on car set up and driving technique, among other things.

You can work on your driving skills in a much more low-key simulator!

The Dallara IndyCar Factory hosts more than 200 events, like weddings and corporate events, each year, so it's a good idea to call before you make the trip.

Even as the metropolis of Indianapolis has grown around Speedway, the town still has that small town feel.

The town is a separate government unit within Marion County. It has its own town council, police department, fire department, street department, parks and recreation department, water and wastewater utilities, school system and public library.