Each May, race fans become passionate about the cars that roar around the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and rightly so. But this year, those same fans have a new option the evening before the Indy 500. Just a few minutes and miles down U.S. 136 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, a Night of Thunder will arrive.

Michael Biehle will be one of the top drivers in the world putting on a show May 26 at the Lucas Oil Raceway dragstrip. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA)

I'm so excited that for the first time ever, Lucas Oil Raceway will host Night of Thunder on May 26 featuring some of the fastest Pro Mod drag racers in the world.

The track will partner with Real Pro Mod Association to showcase some of the biggest names in the sport. Racing fans and car fanatics can experience American-made cars producing more than 3,000 horsepower flying down the quarter-mile drag strip in less than six seconds at speeds exceeding 250 mph.

Kasey Coler, Lucas Oil Raceway General Manager, said they decided to try this new event as a great entry-level introduction into drag racing for those race fans who are looking for something to do the night before the 500.

For those not familiar with drag racing, I try to equate it to your senses. You not only see and hear these machines, but you can feel them, too. And unlike IndyCar, head-to-head races end every six seconds, and a ticket to the event doubles as an all-access pit pass. So, fans of every age can see the cars up close and meet the drivers.

Any vantage point is a good one at the Lucas Oil Raceway drag strip in Brownsburg.

The event will kick off Saturday morning with a special bracket race in the Pro and Super Pro categories. Qualifying for the headliner, the Pro Mods, will occur later that day. An autograph session and fan activities will begin at 5 p.m. and continue until 6:30 p.m. leading up to the 16-car shootout beginning at 7 p.m.

But there’s more…the popular jet cars that usually only appear on Labor Day Weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway during the most prestigious drag racing event in the world -- the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals -- will light up the track following the shootout. Having experienced them first hand, I can tell you there is nothing like it.

A fireworks display track organizers have descibed as memorable will cap off the exciting night of action.

Coler told me they designed this event to be a night of entertainment and fun. One he and event organizers hope becomes a family tradition during Indy 500 weekend in Central Indiana.

Tickets already are on sale and start at $20 for adults and $15 for kids 12 and under. Parking is free.

If you already have that weekend blocked for racing, why not add another event to your calendar. You may just become a drag racing fan.