Indy 500 -- Advice for a First Timer?

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LCT's picture

I have heard that the Indy 500 is an awesome time for race fans and couldn't-care-less-about-racing folks alike.

Camping there, I'm told, is where it's at.

Lifetime vs. UM: L 8-1, C 7-0, T 4-0

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LCT's picture

That looks.....terrible.

Lifetime vs. UM: L 8-1, C 7-0, T 4-0

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Earthoid.'s picture

Frame 3:14 

A gentle reminder to BE NICE. Plays guitar and makes iced tea in the winter.

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BoroBuck's picture

If you are gonna be in for the race only, i would consider parking downtown and riding a commuter bus to the track..

Boro Buck

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BeatMeechigun's picture

Be sure to pack a small cooler with whatever beverages you prefer.

Also recommend sunscreen.

Beyond those two, it's hard to go wrong.  If you explore you can sometimes find open seats just above the pits on the inside of the track as well.  Pretty neat to get up close to that action.

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Frimmel's picture

If I do this trying to get seats in one of the pit lane grandstands seems most likely. 

You've got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight. 

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analyticalguy's picture

Don't expect to see much of the race.

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The Rill Dill's picture

I heard that all of the local stores are basically empty of food/drink. I guess it sells completely out of raceday type essentials. 

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Buck61's picture

are you going for just the race or are you coming to Indy on Friday or Saturday.  most hotels are 2 or 3 night minimums. When ever you get over there, go  to the trackas early as possible, plan on showing up at the gate 30 minutes before the start and think you will catch the entire race. Gates open at 6am, i would say you need to be close two hours before the scheduled start

Decide if you want to do the infield or a seat in the stands. The race is not sold out and  are plenty of people outside the track selling tickets, Plenty of big video boards to watch as well

There is a shuttle service form the airport to the track if you want to avoid the parking mess.

https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/planyourvisit/indy-500

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Buck61's picture

my typo, don't get there 30 minutes before the race and expect to be in your seat for the start

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Frimmel's picture

I knew what you were getting at. I'd want to be in my seat well in time for all the pomp and circumstance. Thanks for the link. 

You've got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight. 

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TheScarletNut's picture

Going for a Bachelor party this weekend, there will be 16 of us... anyone have suggestions for transportation for when I am 20 adult beverages deep after the race? My boss said you can't even get an Uber and we are staying about 15 minutes from the track.

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HayesIsMyMiddleName's picture

Look to see if there are any shuttle services to get you anywhere close to where you are going/coming.  May even want to Uber to a shuttle dropoff/pickup and then back again after the race.  That's a hassle, but your boss is right in that you won't be able to get an uber or cab anywhere near the speedway for a couple hours after the race.

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martin anderson's picture

Been there once for the race. Absolutely incredible how fast these cars go. How any driver is able to maintain control and concentration for 500 miles at those speeds is mind boggling

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BeatMeechigun's picture

Indiana has some crazy blue laws so don’t expect to get a case of cold beer from an Indiana gas station on Sunday morning 

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bucknut1994's picture

They changed those last year. You can buy alcohol on sundays now. 

#94Ways

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HayesIsMyMiddleName's picture

Sunday sales don't start until noon however, so still need to load up for the race on Saturday.

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CincyBuck's picture

Thank God.  When I lived there, you couldn't buy alcohol on Sundays.  Period.  No cold/warm distinction.

That was going to be my biggest piece of advice -- by far -- when clicking on this thread.  I always felt bad for folks who showed up trying to buy a case on Crawfordsville Rd.  No luck on Sundays.

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jedkat's picture

Turn left.

"just a guy, nothing more, nothing less" ~ Some troll then *poof* he was gone

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3ydncloudofdust's picture

Boy. I went to Indy once - 29 years ago. I turned 21 the day of the race. It was quite a weekend but I can’t recall anything to share that would help you.  I also went to the inaugural Brickyard 400...once again, not much useful info. Have a great time!

"You have to play with emotion, you can't let emotion play with you." - Ryan Day

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HayesIsMyMiddleName's picture

First things first, ARRIVE EARLY.  This is 300,000+ people coming into one area so imagine the traffic around Columbus on gameday but literally 3-4 times as much.  Traffic gets bad starting as early as 7-8am so the earlier you get to the track the better, and it is more than acceptable to be at your tailgate drinking after 6 (at 6 they shoot off a cannon to let you know the gates are open and wake everyone in the sleeping areas).  Also stock up on alcohol and a cooler Saturday night, Indiana finally has Sunday alcohol sales but not until noon on Sundays so that won't help you at all on race day.

Never had a parking pass so can't speak to that, but every house in the neighborhood sells parking in their yards and its always worked great for us.  Again the earlier you get there the better choices you have (find the ones who rented porta pottys for their guests), and just make sure they have a plan not to park you in but most do a good job with that.

Also have always sat in the infield so can't help with seating, besides bring good sunscreen or hat cause there's little to no escape from the sun in the seats.  As for the infield, turn 3 is the party area where the real heavy drinking and partying goes on, but it's crowded and you have to get there overnight to be in line for a great spot.  Turn 4 is a little more relaxed and has better views to actually watch some of the race, but can still get plenty of drinking in there too.  No matter where you sit a walk over to turn 3 just to see it all is worth it during the middle of the race in my eyes.

Lastly either be prepared to race out of there as soon as it ends to beat some of the traffic, or bring supplies to tailgate after the race.  We've been able to sneak out immediately after the race the last few years and got home quick, but if you wait too long all of the chartered buses start coming through and they block up everything around the track for quite a while.

Any other specific questions let me know, this is the first year since 2010 I'm going to voluntarily miss it (missed twice when my wife was 9 months pregnant with each of our kids).

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Frimmel's picture

How much can you move around once in the track? Yes the place is huge but can you have a seat in turn 1 and hoof out to turn 2 to take a look around? Do your tickets limit where you can go as long as you're not making a nuisance blocking paths or sitting in someone elses seats and such? 

You've got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight. 

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HayesIsMyMiddleName's picture

As long as your seats are on the inside of the track you can move around very easily.  If you were to sit on the outside I believe they only allow walking under the track to get to the other side during cautions but I could be wrong about that.  Only issues are its a big track so walking from one side to the other is literally a mile so you'll miss part of the race while walking around but there's various video boards you can see, especially for a replay of a crash or something.  Getting inside before 10 gives you plenty of time to just walk around and see the sights before going to your seats for all the ceremonial stuff.

HS