After 60 years of providing visitors from around the world the chance to see some of the most legendary cars in the history of the Indianapolis 500, as well as vehicles from other racing venues, a modern makeover is underway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
The first domino fell early in 2016, when “Hall of Fame” was dropped from the official title of the Museum.
The new, more streamlined Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum name can be found on the redesigned logo and new website: www.indyracingmuseum.org. Fans can also follow the museum on Twitter (@IMSMuseum) and Facebook (facebook.com/imsmuseum) to see rare photos from the Speedway archives and stay up-to-date on upcoming events.
Another major change was unveiled in May, when 6,000 additional square feet of exhibit space, formerly occupied by offices, opened to the public. In addition to allowing the museum the opportunity to display more of its historic collection, the expanded area overlooks the infield, offering visitors views of the Pagoda, road course, and golf course.
Under Executive Director Betsy Smith things are continuing to evolve with new and exciting exhibits. As the Engines of Indy and the Camaro Pace Car exhibit leaves and new and fantastic exhibit is moving in beginning April 9th.
The Bryd Family
Jonathon II, Ginny and David
For nearly three decades, the Byrd family has managed a successful restaurant and catering company in Greenwood, but its business portfolio has been quietly expanding beyond the south side of Indianapolis for years.
The late Jonathan Byrd founded Jonathan Byrd’s Racing years before the well-known cafeteria and banquet hall opened in 1988—and while he still owned several Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises that he’d started opening in 1975.
In the 1990s, he started a hotel management firm, now known as Byrd Hotel Group, that owns and operates a handful of lodging facilities in Arizona and Utah. More recently, the family formed an events management business in partnership with a marketing firm to maximize its newest opportunities.
“It’s sort of a short hop, skip and a jump into those other areas,” Hamilton County Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Tim Monger said. “It certainly makes some sense as you grow your catering business.”
Now, Jonathan Byrd’s is following population trends into the northern suburbs—and shifting most of its attention to Hamilton County.
In fact, its most prominent business—the Greenwood restaurant—has closed. Two years after vanquishing the cafeteria in favor of more traditional dining options, Jonathan Byrd’s shut the restaurant completely.
“I think the family has acknowledged that times have changed … kudos to the Byrd family for realizing that,” Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Christian Maslowski said. “Unfortunately for Greenwood, they found that in Hamilton County.
With racing in the Byrd family blood things are also changing on that front as well. Last year JB II became the president on the Indianapolis Speedrome. Under his guidance the track has come back to life. In addition the Byrd name will return to the Speedway. With Belardi Racing they are entering the Freedom 100 with driver Chris Windom.