Indy 500 or Bust

Make a family pilgrimage to the Mecca of motorsports, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indy 500 will take place Memorial Day weekend, with the race on Sunday, May 26. Fly or drive into Indianapolis and stay at one of these lodging options. Buckle up and get ready for a great weekend. If you are a first-timer, here is advice from the regulars:

“Eat before the race. Get a good seat. Plenty of cold beverages.”

“Be prepared for the SOUND the cars make. It’s loud. It hits your core. The cars hit a turn and then you hear the sound fade momentarily into the distance. Purchase headphones before you go, the Noise-Blocking Race Scanner Headphones are ideal for use in noisy locations like race tracks. They effectively block out external noise, up to 20dB and you can listen to the radio frequency from the pits. Easily adjustable volume control is conveniently located on the left ear cup and the heavy-duty cord is tightly coiled so it stays out of your way.”

“Don’t consume to much alcohol and drink lots of water. It is a long day. Wear comfortable shoes because you are going to walk A LOT. Pack a lunch and buy a lunch. Apples are a great thing to take with you and a can or 2 of Pringles. If you are going to sit in the grandstands take a pack of Oreos and if you are in the infield take all the food you can, then share with everybody. Plenty of sunscreen and be ready for rain because if you’re not it will rain. Just go relax and have fun. Don’t be in a hurry to get home because there are 300,000 people trying to get out at once.”

“Eat fried chicken, it’s a tradition. Order the box lunch with your ticket, it’s easier that way. Picking a seat is just as important. Get as high up as you can, especially in turn 1. Folding chairs = bad.”

“Make sure you take a few bottles of water to the parade. Lines were long to buy it last year and it was very hot.”

“If you are a first timer have patience and try to sit in a vista in the double letters. Vistas are in the 4 turns. Get to the track at least 3 hours before the start. It is neat to watch the track fill up with all the different colors.”

“Arrive early. Plan on hanging around afterward. Wear shoes you can walk in and stay hydrated! Should you have a beer? OF COURSE! Just mix in some water along the way. If you want to party, do it up on Friday or Saturday and then chill for the race. You can bring a cooler as large as an Igloo Playmate. I don’t like hauling something that large and it restricts your foot room. Go with the little Playmate. NO GLASS. Eat well in the am before you enter the Speedway.”

“Where should you enter the Speedway? If you have tickets the gate number is on the back, but you don’t have to use that gate. It’s only a guide. Have some kind of plan that takes into account where your seats are and the direction home.”

“Get the Indianapolis STAR raceday edition. Why? The starting line up WITH PICTURES is the best cheat sheet you can have for keeping track of who’s who on the racetrack. If it gets all crinkled you won’t care. You can spill mustard or beer on it. You want the Official Race Program to stay in perfect condition. Some people like a headset radio. Sunscreen is important. Don’t wear your NASCAR Stuff to the 500! I don’t care how much you like Jeff Gordon. If you want to wear your NASCAR shirt to Indy come back in late July. I’ll be there in my NASCAR shirt too.”

“I LOVE turn #3. Before the race you can sit under a tree on the golf course. From there you can turn your head left to right and see all the way from the middle of turn #2 to the exit of turn #4. Northeast Vista Turn is the Speedway’s best kept secret (until now!) People will sell their souls for Grandstand E when action in turn #3 is just as good with no vertical pillars in the way. Sections 14 to 19 are good even with a lower row. The lower numbered sections are all good too, but you need to get up to about row Y in order to see all the way to turn #2. Sections 20 and higher are OK, but you’ll lose some of the backstretch view because of the fence.”

“If you are just going as a family, and want to wander around and enjoy the race, you can buy General Admission tickets for $30 per person over age 12, and kids 12 and under are FREE. This does not buy you a seat, but the Speedway has these things called “viewing mounds”, which are essentially big hills of grass that provide views of the track. These are in turn 2 and turn 3, and they are open to the general admission ticket holders. You can get there early and stake out your space, or just walk around to each one during the race. You will be able to go into the Plaza area to buy food during the race, so make it a fun day to SEE all the “wonders” that are the experience of the Indy 500. If you are going to get seats for your family, I suggest the front straightaway where you can see all the important action like the Start/Finish line, the Flag Stand, the Pits and all the Pre-Race celebration! Tickets are available for $70 and up for the straightaway.”

“Parking is always an issue if you are not a regular and know the drill. The BEST thing you can do is park on the side of the track that is your main artery to get home. So, if you are staying south of the track, don’t park in the Coke lot, which is north of the track. There are literally TONS of people who open up their front yards to people to park on race day. Don’t be afraid to do that. Just drive in from the direction you want to exit, try and get within ¼ mile from the track, and then start looking for the signs! Just don’t give in to someone who is a mile away! You don’t need to walk that far!”

“The race begins at Noon on Sunday. But there is a lot to see before noon. There are a number of high school bands that perform starting at 8:00am. That is the beginning of the festivities. They start putting the cars out on Pit Lane at 9:30. At 11:00 begins the Pre-Race show and Driver Introductions. Many iconic things happen during this time: Jim Nabors sings “Back Home in Indiana”, Florence Henderson sings “God Bless America”, there is a military tribute to our fallen heroes, the National Anthem is sung and Mary Hulman George gives the call to “Start your Engines”! So don’t be fooled by the start time of the race. You won’t get the full experience if you don’t get there by 10:00!”

“I would take a shuttle to the track. See the link below.

“Race Day – the shuttle is a no-brainer for you. It’s very convenient to downtown. The worst part about driving to the 500 is NOT the drive there… it’s the drive out!! The shuttle is much, much quicker both ways because it’s on a designated route which avoids most race traffic.”

“The ride out will likely be comfortable. the ride back probably less so – more people leaving at the same time than getting there at the same time.”

“As stated before take the shuttle to the track early . Check out the Speedway Museum and gift shop. Well worth $3.00 I think. The track is enormous so to get from point A to point B may take one hour or more on foot. But take in all the sights and smells and ENJOY. It is more than just The Greatest Spectacle in Racing you are a part of history in the makng.”

“Plenty to do downtown. All restaurants will be crowded. Suggestion. If you like seafood or a good steak, try McCormick and Shmick’s. If you want to surprise your significant other call ahead and they will put a personal message on the menu for you like ‘Welcome to the 2013 Indy 500 Mr and Mrs —- .’ Makes for a good souvenir.”

“After the parade, I suggest heading over to Mass Ave. There’s some unique shops and local restaurants to grab a good lunch — OR — Walk the canal at White River State park. You’ll love the people watching. Great lunch spots include Sky City Cafe (at the Eiteljorg Museum) or Creation Cafe at the very north end of the canal.”

Downtown will be hopping with active nightlife all weekend long. Rathskeller and Slippery Noodle (Indiana’s Oldest Bar) are indeed that late night hotspots with tents and live music. I also like Cadillac Ranch has one of those mechanical bulls. A good Martini bar is Nicky Blaine’s.”

“It is hard to procure reservations at Oceanaire, St. Elmos and Harry and Izzy restaurants. Palomino is a lovely choice as is Dunaways and Shula’s Steakhouse for dinner. There are more than 200 restaurants downtown – so you’ll have plenty from which to choose. Or, you may choose to drive up to Broadripple Village (about 15 minute drive).”


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Author: erinpruitt

I believe the best stuff is passed along. I will be sharing insider "tips" for your home, and fun ideas for your free time.


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