SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Speedway, Indiana is known as the racing capital of the world, but for more than 11,000 people, Speedway is just known as home.
On a Friday night at Speedway High School, hometown pride can not only be seen but felt.
Jack Mayhugh has lived in Speedway for 78 years. On game nights, Jack can be found rooting on the home team.
The team has a nickname that is one of the most unique in the state: the Speedway Sparkplugs.
“They wanted to be a part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Sparkplugs seemed like a good fit,” Mayhugh said.
Tyler Carmichael is a teacher and a coach in the district.
“People in Speedway take pride in the community so it means a lot to people when they say, “hey, I’m a Sparkplug” or, “hey, I went to Speedway,'” Carmichael said. “You know people value this community and what it stands for.”
Like the members of the school’s track and field team.
For senior Kyle Smith, the pride is generational.
“I grew up here, my parents grew up here, my grandparents grew up here so it’s pretty rare to go somewhere and not know somebody,” Smith said.
He does it on a track that is less than a mile away from one of the most famous tracks in the world.
“It’s pretty special, not many kids can say they live close the Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” Smith said. “And I think that’s something to take pride in.”
The track came first, built in 1909. Three years later the town was laid out and took on the Speedway name. The school system came later and the connection with the track doesn’t stop at the mascot.
The town’s four elementary schools are named after the four founding fathers of the track.
Mayhugh says it’s a way to pay homage to those who helped create the community and a way to remember the town’s history. History that some people sometimes confuse with the city of Indianapolis.
“It is separate from Indianapolis, people think it is a suburb of it,” Mayhugh said. “It is a independent town of with an independent government and it is, in my opinion, a wonderful place to live.
It’s a tradition that is as Indiana as Indiana gets.