Already known as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, this year’s Indy 500 is going to be amazing.
Running over Memorial Day weekend, the Indy 500 has become so much more than an auto race. Locals embrace each race as the perfect excuse to party, and since 1957 there’s been a huge parade featuring the 33 race starters as parade marshals. The 500 Festival (set up to celebrate the race) offers various events including a marathon, and the Snakepit Ball where VIPs and celebrities come to party. The City of Indianapolis is planning an itinerary of special events to coincide with this anniversary, and the atmosphere there is going to be electric.
This event is legendary, and besides the history of break-neck speeds and thrilling finishes, comes with its own rather bizarre tradition – victory is celebrated with a glass of milk rather than a glass of champagne. This tradition dates back to 1933, when Louis Meyer won for a second time and asked for a glass of buttermilk, and the local dairy industry latched onto this, making it customary to do so (and providing winners with a hefty bonus for downing a glass of the good stuff). When Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi won in 1993 and refused to drink milk, opting instead for OJ, fans were not impressed and later booed him for it. (For the full story on this fun tradition, click here.)
The Indy 500 is where auto-racing history is made and records are broken. It is no wonder then that this race has been featured in so many movies and TV shows, and has even spawned its own video game. From the Flintstones to Saturday Night Live to the movie Days of Thunder, the Indy 500 has been discussed and referenced in so many places – it has entered our cultural vernacular as the pinnacle of all racing goals.
If you’ve never been to the Indianapolis Speedway, it is a pretty amazing sight. The venue is huge, covering over 227 hectares, and there is a ridiculous amount of seating. Tickets are plentiful, but the best tickets, the ones that put you closest to the action, sell out fast (so early booking is very much advised).
Tickets for Turn 1 are considered by many to be the best available. At that location there is always a lot of action in the turns with cars trying pass each other, and you have a clear sight-line of two of the straight-away sections, including the start/finish line. Sitting there also gives a good view of the cars coming out of Pit Row after they have fueled up, changed tires, etc.
The very best seats at Turn 1 are found in the E Penthouse, which is high up so you have more of a birds-eye view than the lower sections, and most seats will be undercover and sheltered from rain and sun – an important consideration as you’ll be there upwards of three hours.
Those looking for a wild time might want to sit in the Snake Pit area, but if not you can at least walk past and observe the partiers even if you wouldn’t want to join in.
Check out this inspiring video that race organizers put together to help stir up excitement for the 100th running of the race, doesn’t it make you want to go?
If you’re ready to make 2016 the year that you experience the Indy 500, contact us and find out how we can organize a bucket list worthy trip that takes care of everything. We’ll get you there in whatever style you choose, put you in the very best hotels, and get you seated wherever you want. Plus, we can build a whole trip around the event that encompasses whatever you want to see and do in Indianapolis.