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Indycar 2024: Advice on visiting Indy 500 on Race Day


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#1 EvilPhil II

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 16:45

I will fly 4460 miles to watch the Indy 500 this May and cross the event off from my bucket list before the introduction of hybrids.

 

I'll be driving from Louisville in the morning and parking at the circuit at Lot 1C - WEST END.

 

I've some questions for those that have attended in the past. 

 

Green Flag is "scheduled" at 12:45 PM.  

  1. Given the crowds and the traffic, what time should I be aiming to arrive at the circuit? 
  2. What would people recommend to bring with me to the circuit?
  3. How long does it take to leave the circuit after the race finish? 

And any other advice on the event or the city would be greatly appreciated. 


Edited by EvilPhil II, 13 May 2024 - 21:49.


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#2 Afterburner

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 17:01

This might be better suited for GP Traveling, but I can give you some preliminary answers based on my one visit:

1. As early as you can. We arrived at 9:00 AM the day of the race and had to sit in traffic for about an hour to get to a place to park.

2. A hat, sunscreen, snacks, a lunch, and ear protection. The track lets you bring in your own food so take advantage.

3. More than two hours I’d guess. Traffic tends to be so bad that people will just tailgate for long after, which will also complicate your departure a bit.

#3 EvilPhil II

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 18:17

Thanks Afterburner.

 

> Ear protection

 

Are the cars louder than WEC / IMSA / F1? 


Edited by EvilPhil II, 12 May 2024 - 19:02.


#4 loki

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 18:18

I will fly 4460 miles to watch the Indy 500 this May and cross the event off from my bucket list before the introduction of hybrids.

 

I'll be driving from Louisville in the morning and parking at the circuit at Lot 1C - WEST END.

 

I've some questions for those that have attended in the past. 

 

Green Flag is "scheduled" at 12:45 PM.  

  1. Given the crowds and the traffic, what time should I be aiming to arrive at the circuit? 
  2. What would people I recommend to bring with me to the circuit?
  3. How long does it take to leave the circuit after the race finish? 

And any other advice on the event or the city would be greatly appreciated. 

Where are you sitting?



#5 EvilPhil II

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 18:25

Where are you sitting?

 

I'll be in Northeast Vista Turn Section 3 Row BB which is in Turn 3.



#6 BarryinIN

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 19:18

You will be parking in what we locals call the “Coke lot” because it adjoins a Coca-Cola bottling plant. It is a BIG open field, and you will be parking in the far end. Most of your walking will be across that lot.

The good news is, that cuts down your in-car wait time because you will be parked farther from the track.

I suggest that as you drive to the race, take the following route:
I-465 around the west side of the city.
Stay to the left where traffic flows best. Ignore the signs telling you to exit at Rockville Road, 10th street, and Crawfordsville Rd.
Then move over to the right.
Exit at 38th street and go east/right.

The above will seem wrong, because you will actually drive past the track and have to come back south to it, but trust me.

After exiting onto 38th, you will be guided where to go, but you will probably be sent south/left onto Moller Rd after about a mile.
Keep your windows up and doors locked for that mile.

You will then go south on Moller, which should have all lanes running the same direction at that time. After another approximately one mile, your parking lot will be on the left at 30th street. I don’t remember if they turn all lanes left onto 30th, or just the left two.

When leaving the parking lot, head toward that corner of Moller
and 30th. The farther west you can leave the lot onto 30th, the better.
When leaving, you are almost completely at the mercy of traffic control, so the only way you have to help yourself is at the start when getting out of the lot.

I never thought traffic was that bad for any event at IMS. They’ve been holding events there for over 100 years and have it down pretty well. IMS pays the OT for Indiana State Police and they accept with gusto.

If there is a bad holdup, it will be when getting out of the parking lot itself. I’ve only seen that when parked in the east end. I only got caught in that once myself.

As for when to go. As early as possible.
Not necessarily due to traffic, but to see the show. The buildup. That’s what the Indy 500 does best.

But really, unless you get there an hour before the race or later, it shouldn’t be too bad.

#7 EvilPhil II

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 19:56

You will be parking in what we locals call the “Coke lot” because it adjoins a Coca-Cola bottling plant. It is a BIG open field, and you will be parking in the far end. Most of your walking will be across that lot.

The good news is, that cuts down your in-car wait time because you will be parked farther from the track.

I suggest that as you drive to the race, take the following route:
I-465 around the west side of the city.
Stay to the left where traffic flows best. Ignore the signs telling you to exit at Rockville Road, 10th street, and Crawfordsville Rd.
Then move over to the right.
Exit at 38th street and go east/right.

The above will seem wrong, because you will actually drive past the track and have to come back south to it, but trust me.

After exiting onto 38th, you will be guided where to go, but you will probably be sent south/left onto Moller Rd after about a mile.
Keep your windows up and doors locked for that mile.

You will then go south on Moller, which should have all lanes running the same direction at that time. After another approximately one mile, your parking lot will be on the left at 30th street. I don’t remember if they turn all lanes left onto 30th, or just the left two.

When leaving the parking lot, head toward that corner of Moller
and 30th. The farther west you can leave the lot onto 30th, the better.
When leaving, you are almost completely at the mercy of traffic control, so the only way you have to help yourself is at the start when getting out of the lot.

I never thought traffic was that bad for any event at IMS. They’ve been holding events there for over 100 years and have it down pretty well. IMS pays the OT for Indiana State Police and they accept with gusto.

If there is a bad holdup, it will be when getting out of the parking lot itself. I’ve only seen that when parked in the east end. I only got caught in that once myself.

As for when to go. As early as possible.
Not necessarily due to traffic, but to see the show. The buildup. That’s what the Indy 500 does best.

But really, unless you get there an hour before the race or later, it shouldn’t be too bad.

 

 

Amazing, thank you. 

 

I've another question.  Are the seats at Northeast a good enough view to experience it properly?  I tried getting better ones at the time but they only sell them to those that return year on year. 



#8 BarryinIN

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 20:22

Amazing, thank you.

I've another question. Are the seats at Northeast a good enough view to experience it properly? I tried getting better ones at the time but they only sell them to those that return year on year.


Yes they are. At first, I read your seats as NE Terrace, even though you wrote NE Vista. Vista is on the outside of a turn; Terrace is inside.

WHERE you are within a Vista matters some, as your view can be anything from the back straight and around the turn…to the turn, short chute, and entrance to the 4th turn…to “just” the turn itself and little more. But since the turns are 1/4 mile long, “just the turn” is still a lot.

Some people don’t want to be anywhere else but in one of the vistas. Among the four, I would take yours or the SW as my first choice.
Usually there is some action in your turn; anything from passing to Mario coming to a stop :).

Remember, there are no truly fantastic seats there where you can see everything. It is a big place, and laid out so it appears bigger. I’ve been all over, from inside a turn to under the roof at the start/finish line. I always came away wishing I had been at X location because that’s where the action was that year while also feeling lucky I was where I could see something else.

Sometimes you get lucky and see a lot, but you will see SOMETHING.

Edited by BarryinIN, 12 May 2024 - 20:46.


#9 Risil

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 20:37

The "Vista" stands are on the outside of the corners I think.

 

When I was there we watched Carb Day from one of the penthouse stands right up in Turn One. Right up in the gods. You're quite far from trackside but the view down the pit straight is spectacular.

 

This 3D tool is rather good, it's got models of all the stands and also views of what you'll see from each one: https://www.seats3d....r_speedway/1/#/

 

In any case, I can't say it better than Barry. You might see something extraordinary, or you might just see a lot of fast and orderly driving. (Even then, you're close enough to the track to be able to see what the cars are doing.)

 

Sunscreen is a good idea too. I don't know where you're from and what you're used to but it can get really hot in Indiana in late May.



#10 Risil

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 20:42

Oh and Indianapolis is a lovely city and it's worth spending a day there if you can. The Eiteljorg Museum of Native and Western Art is particularly good. https://eiteljorg.org/



#11 EvilPhil II

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 20:44

> I don't know where you're from

 

Im originally from the UK so we were all born in the dark, you lot simply sleep in it. 



#12 BarryinIN

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 20:47

You should get a lifetime supply of sun that day then. Be warned.

Edited by BarryinIN, 12 May 2024 - 20:47.


#13 EvilPhil II

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 21:02

You should get a lifetime supply of sun that day then. Be warned.

 

LOL - What is the temp normally like that time of year? 



#14 BarryinIN

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 21:24

Normally around 80F I’d say, but I’ve seen it in the 50s on race day and at least in the 90s.
I’ve even seen snow blowing around in the air at qualifying one year.

As you can guess, it’s a very variable time of the year here. Keep checking the forecast before you leave.

Edited by BarryinIN, 12 May 2024 - 21:25.


#15 EvilPhil II

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 21:51

Checking the weather now it looks like a 60% chance of thunderstorms on the race day. 

 

Luckily I have booked a few extra days in Indianapolis in case it is rained off, so fingers crossed it is dry or they run it again on the Monday if it is washed out. 



#16 BarryinIN

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 22:20

Good plan. I know it’s been ran as late as Wednesday (1973) but things were different then.

#17 EvilPhil II

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 23:03

2 more questions for those that have been. 

  1. Where do you access the track from the parking? are there multiple gates to enter or is it only at the start/finish area? 
  2. What is the restroom situation? 


#18 EvilPhil II

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 23:08

Screenshot-2024-05-13-010557.png


Edited by EvilPhil II, 12 May 2024 - 23:09.


#19 BarryinIN

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 23:28


2 more questions for those that have been.

  • Where do you access the track from the parking? are there multiple gates to enter or is it only at the start/finish area?
  • What is the restroom situation?

Lots of places to enter, but with you coming from the Coke Lot, you will probably want to enter at what will be the first gate you come to. I don’t remember the gate number.


Restrooms are plentiful. They are below the seats.

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#20 jonpollak

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 00:14

Checking the weather now it looks like a 60% chance of thunderstorms on the race day.

Luckily I have booked a few extra days in Indianapolis in case it is rained off, so fingers crossed it is dry or they run it again on the Monday if it is washed out.

Weather here is not like what you're used to...
But fear not today's forecast for race day says ....

IMG-3208.jpg

Jp

Edited by jonpollak, 13 May 2024 - 09:55.


#21 prommer

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 00:19

What time does the cannon go off on the morning of the race? And what's the purpose of that? To let people in the area know it's time to start heading out?



#22 paulb

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 00:47

Man, you can’t beat the advice of local.

 

Phil, just be prepared to walk and for changeable weather conditions. Stay hydrated too.

 

With your extra time, you need to visit the IMS museum. Its undergoing renovations, but it does appear to be open at select times, https://tickets.imsm...28-34334782d1aa

 

Have a great time and please report back.



#23 loki

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 00:56

Restrooms are plentiful. They are below the seats.

And thanks to the Captain you don’t have to pee in a trough next bunch of other guys.  It was pretty rustic until he remodeled.  I hear it’s nice now.



#24 red stick

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 00:58

Midwesterners are generally a laid back lot. Don't be evil. :cool:

Also, if somebody is inIN, do precisely what he says.

#25 loki

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 01:02

Also, if somebody is inIN, do precisely what he says.

Especially in the drive through at Taco Bell…



#26 paulb

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 01:52

Especially in the drive through at Taco Bell…

Isn’t that one gone? 



#27 BarryinIN

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 01:52

What time does the cannon go off on the morning of the race? And what's the purpose of that? To let people in the area know it's time to start heading out?


It’s fired when the gates open.

#28 BarryinIN

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 01:54

Oh yeah, the other question.
6:00am

#29 BarryinIN

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 02:02

And yes, absolutely visit the museum.
I hope they are enlarging the display space, although it’s doubtful they could ever display everything they have. It’s been rumored forever that IMS has cars stored all over the city and suburbs.

Since you have planned to stay extra days, take the bus ride around the track. Tickets and starting point at the museum.
Take it the day after the race or maybe two days after. The skid marks are still fresh and the impacts haven’t been painted over yet.
The skid marks are enlightening.
You see someone skid on TV or even from the stands, and it looks bad enough. Then if you see the skid marks when actually on the track, you see that short slide was really a loooooooong way. That’s when you really understand the speeds.

#30 loki

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 03:53

Isn’t that one gone? 

Yeah, they shut it.



#31 Henri Greuter

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 06:48

Thanks Afterburner.

 

> Ear protection

 

Are the cars louder than WEC / IMSA / F1? 

 

 

Given my own handicap when it comes to tolerate engine noised due to my own hearing system I am probably not the right person for giving an advise.

But if permitted to give one: better be safe than sorry: Bring along at least ear plugs! 

Again, better be safe than sorry and have the final phase of the race being bothered by physical discomfort tracable to too much noise by to many cars in combination by the sunshine and heat of the day.



#32 Henri Greuter

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 06:49

And yes, absolutely visit the museum.
I hope they are enlarging the display space, although it’s doubtful they could ever display everything they have. It’s been rumored forever that IMS has cars stored all over the city and suburbs.
 

 

 

Museum is closed as far as I know due to the major reconstruction work inside.

 

 

 

For they who fly into Indy Airport: Walk through the corridor between the two concourses A & B before picking up your luggage and you'll get the opportunity to see at least two cars from the collection on display in that corridor.

So if you arrive on an A gate, pretend you have a connecting flight leaving from a B gate, follow the directions to Concourse B and vice versa.

Them go back to the Concourse you arrived at to go through the exit.


Edited by Henri Greuter, 13 May 2024 - 06:53.


#33 BarryinIN

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 07:06

I’ve heard conflicting information about the museum accessibility. I’ve heard it’s going to be open limited times during the month of May, and I’ve heard it will remain closed.
If I can get over there, I will check to find out.

#34 Henri Greuter

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 07:34

I’ve heard conflicting information about the museum accessibility. I’ve heard it’s going to be open limited times during the month of May, and I’ve heard it will remain closed.
If I can get over there, I will check to find out.

 

 

I sincerely hope that for those for who this year will be their one and only occasion in life to be there in May that at least something can be seen over there.

The old Museum was an experience to have and cherish.



#35 red stick

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 14:37

Especially in the drive through at Taco Bell…

Long time readers of these pages will know that Taco Bell is a particular guilty pleasure of mine. But from a traveler's standpoint, let's get real--if you're going to travel thousands of miles to a locale for just a few days, you should sample the local cuisine.

Not Taco Bell.
Not McDonald's.
Not Wendy's.

If you have to slum in Indiana, Bob Evans is probably as low as you should go.  ;)

#36 paulb

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 15:57

Museum is closed as far as I know due to the major reconstruction work inside.

 

Read this please, https://tickets.imsm...28-34334782d1aa



#37 FLB

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 16:00

Long time readers of these pages will know that Taco Bell is a particular guilty pleasure of mine. But from a traveler's standpoint, let's get real--if you're going to travel thousands of miles to a locale for just a few days, you should sample the local cuisine.

Not Taco Bell.
Not McDonald's.
Not Wendy's.

If you have to slum in Indiana, Bob Evans is probably as low as you should go.  ;)

 

White Castle on Crawfordsville Rd  :wave:



#38 BarryinIN

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 16:17

White Castle on Crawfordsville Rd :wave:

Absolutely!

There is also a tamale place not too far from the track called…The Tamale Place. I’ve seen a lot of race team members and Dallara people in there at lunch time.
https://www.thetamaleplace.com/

Or if you want to semi-slum it local-like, there is an old drive-in.
https://mug-n-bun.com/

If you want actual good food, go downtown to St Elmo’s Steakhouse. Get the shrimp cocktail.
https://www.stelmos.com/

EDIT:
Two years ago, I would’ve sent you to Union Jack’s Pub for pizza but they closed up.

Edited by BarryinIN, 13 May 2024 - 16:33.


#39 jonpollak

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 16:54

CharlieBrowns for breakfast on race day.

Get there early...like 6 hrs before you expect to eat (otherwise maybe 15 minute wait on non-race day)

 

However....

My favorite place for food in Speedway is THE FAMOUS TOMATO

Best vegetables in Marion county.

 

Jp



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#40 djparky

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 17:05

Echo comments above. The weather is pretty changeable at Indy, on race day I woke up to loud thunder but by 8am it was all clear

I'd also make sure you have battery charger for your phone.

I parked at Speedway High School and it took a couple of hours or so to get to a point where I could get anywhere.

It's an awesome event

#41 Risil

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 19:31

Shapiro's Deli!

https://shapiros.com/

#42 loki

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 19:37

I loved Union Jack.  Great race memorabilia.  The Simpson factory store used to be near there as well.  It since moved to Brownsburg.

 

Mug and Bun is good, one of Miller’s favs.  I’d add Long’s Bakery too.



#43 EvilPhil II

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 21:45

Have a great time and please report back.

 

 

I'll share an album once I am back online. Thanks for all the advice everyone. 



#44 jonpollak

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Posted 14 May 2024 - 09:36

America has the internet too Phil.
Immediacy is everything.

Hell, you can even get dial up at the speedway !

IMG-3220.jpg

Jp

Edited by jonpollak, 14 May 2024 - 09:36.


#45 DogEarred

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Posted 14 May 2024 - 09:41

 

 I’d add Long’s Bakery too.

 

Amazingly good doughnuts!

 

Queues outside in the morning...



#46 jonpollak

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Posted 15 May 2024 - 15:23

Don’t know if you’ve left yet Phil but this girl Cassie has ALL the great info for ya.

Read her Twitter thread.

https://x.com/mama_g...rQm55GKcaIwUsbg

Jp

#47 BarryinIN

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 16:27

That is some good info.

#48 jonpollak

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 17:01

It IS good Barry.

Cassie is the #1 fan engagement gal.
Jp

#49 SpaceHorseParty

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 19:14

I will also be visiting – not just on race day, but both days of quali and carb day as well. Any recommendations for those? Can I sit anywhere for those?



#50 Risil

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 19:26

If the weather is good, tour the campsites on Carb Day.  ;)