I'm thinking of going to Indianapolis to see the 500 in 2015 (I know that obtaining a tourist visa and everything is going to be rather tricky, that's why I'm leaving myself a lot of margin for these things). What advice would people who have gone there from outside the USA give me about travelling to the event, finding somewhere to stay, transport within Indianapolis etc.?
Going to the Indy 500 as a foreigner
Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:08
What do you anticipate to be tricky about obtaining a visa?
Anyway, i went this year from the UK and had a great time.
First thing is tickets. You have to get in early. You can choose preferences of which stands to go in, but i ended up with my 4th choice.
The nearest major hub is Chicago, so i flew in and out of there. I then picked up a hire car and spent a couple of days taking the long way down to Indy via a few other places i wanted to visit. The drive is possible in 3-4hrs on the interstate, i purposly avoided it on both journey's to see some countryside. The reality was that there wasn't much to see, but, it was fun just to go into small town diners and get people going all gooey over my english accent.
I then arrived in Indianapolis on Friday morning and went directly to the Speedway where i had pre-arranged parking. Stayed for Carb Day and drove downtown to my hotel (The cheap Marriot next to the expensive Marriot where the drivers stay) in the evening. Then headed back out to the 'Carb Night Burger Bash'. Saturday, walked around downtown Indy to see what there was to see and a little bit of the Parade. Went out to Lucas Oils Speedway in the evening to watch some racing (which got rained off after 1 race....).
Got up crazy early on Sunday and went to catch the shuttle bus to the speedway. I had anticipated a parking nightmare and fancied having a few drinks so opted for the bus. Had a chat with Max Papis just outside the hotel on the way. Very cool!
I got into the speedway about 8am and it was pretty easy. They have ramped up security which i gather caused alot of problems for the late-comers. Alot of people couldn't get to thier seats for the start.
Getting in early is cool because they open the track at T1 so you can go on and have a walk around. Also walked around Gasoline Alley and saw the cars being prepped. Got back to the seats in plenty of time for the festivities and race.
Getting back took a while just because of the sheer number of people.
Went to the Museum on Monday morning and wandered over to Gasoline Alley and watch the mechanics stripping down TK's car. Had a walk around the Pagoda etc and generally just soaked up the vibe before being politely asked to leave by one of the 'yellow shirts' - We shouldn't have been there apparently...
Then headed back to Chicago where i spent a few days before heading home.
Driving is easiest and allows you to get out to the far flung bits (Burger Bash, Lucas Oils Speedway etc) but i am sure the rail links and internal flights can get you to and from Indy ok. The speedway itself is about 3/4miles out of town so unless you have the time and decent shoes, i wouldn't walk.
If i were to go again, i'd do my sightseeing before the race and go home asap after. I was so spent after the race that i was just kinda waiting to go home in Chicago which spoiled it.
At the Speedway, i'd like to camp over on Carb night and get fully into the tailgating/ drinking experience. Some of it looked pretty outrageous and is not typically my scene, but you only live once.
Definitely get there. It's awesome.