Lucas Oil Raceway officials thought it was gone for good.
The Night Before the 500 race on the track's famed oval that had featured racing legends including Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and A.J. Foyt last ran back in 2014. Once a signature event that every up-and-coming driver wanted on their resume, it had fizzled away after the Little Indy 500 at the Anderson Speedway became the event USAC racers wanted to compete in the Saturday night before the Indianapolis 500.
One Final Time
But when the COVID-19 pandemic postponed this year's Indianapolis 500 to the end of August, Lucas Oil Raceway officials saw an opening to revive The Night Before the 500 for one last hurrah, creating a full weekend of race events at the track.
On Saturday, Aug. 22 (the night before the rescheduled 2020 Indianapolis 500) Lucas Oil Raceway will host the 70th and final running of The Night Before the 500. Track officials expect a full field with as many as 50-60 cars featuring the top USAC racers from across the country. After practice and qualifying sessions throughout the day, the event will culminate with a 30-lap USAC Midget feature event and then a 50-lap USAC Sprint Car feature.
Some of the bigger names set to compete include Cody Swanson, Bobby Santos and Thomas Meseraull. However, track officials expect a few surprise announcements with even bigger names to be revealed in the coming weeks.
But they are most excited to have the event back one last time and the opportunity to offer some entertainment and excitement to fill the gaps with so many events canceled around the city that normally occur around Indy 500 weekend.
Gates open to the public at 10 a.m. on Aug. 22 with numerous practice and qualifying sessions throughout the day. Opening ceremonies are set to begin at 7 p.m. to kick off the racing action.
Carb Night Classic
But The Night Before the 500 isn't the only event at Lucas Oil Raceway that weekend.
The annual Dave Steele Carb Night Classic will occur the day before, Friday Aug. 21, and will feature three races from three different series. Gates open to the public at 3 p.m. Following practice and qualifying sessions, two feeder series to IndyCar, the USF2000 and the Indy Pro 2000 will start the racing with back-to-back featured races beginning at 6:45 p.m. followed by the USAC Silver Crown nightcap.
Both the Carb Night Classic and The Night Before the 500 are expected to allow 50 percent capacity barring any changes to the state's current safety guidelines. Fans will be asked to wear facial coverings and practice social distancing. Masks will be handed out to fans entering the gates both evenings.
Ticket packages for each individual event as well as combo packages for both events are available.