Whether you’re an Indy 500 newbie or an experienced veteran, there are few things every race fan should know. We’re here with a few helpful tips to enjoy your trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Get In Gear
Before the race day fun can begin, you first need to get to the race. A little road trip prep will make sure you arrive safely. Check your tires – make sure they’re properly inflated and not showing any signs of damage. (Do the same for your spare.) Check your oil and coolant levels – replace and refill as needed. And check your headlights, including your high beams. Pressed for time? Make your first stop your neighborhood Firestone Complete Auto Care. Our experts can help get you on the road in no time.
You Are What You Wear
The “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is as American as Mom’s apple pie. Now is the time to break out your comfiest pair of jeans and American flag t-shirts. A baseball hat or bandana will help protect you from the sun and comfy sneakers will help with miles of walking. Don’t forget, Memorial Day weekend weather in Indianapolis can be unpredictable – bring a sweatshirt in case it’s cold, a jacket in case of rain, and sunglasses & sunscreen if (fingers crossed) the sun is out in full force.
Around the Oval
All race fans have their favorite places to watch Indy 500 action – some prefer up in the grandstands on the front straightaway, others prefer to watch from the short chute between turns. No matter where you sit, make sure have what you need to make the most of the day. Food and drinks are allowed in small coolers, as are folding camp chairs. Binoculars will give you a better view of the action, while a camera will capture all of the fun.
What to do?
Even though race time starts just before noon, you’ll want to arrive early so you don’t miss a thing. Public gates open at 6am, so give yourself plenty of time to get into the Speedway and take in the scene. Check out the Firestone Garage next to Gasoline Alley to get your qualifying grid poster. And while you’re there, check out the Indy cars heading to the grid – they start lining up at 9:30am.
If you have a seat on the front straightaway, you can watch the action on the grid where something is always happening. Head over to the Midway to visit Firestone in Fan Village for the complete Firestone Experience, including driving simulators, spray-on tattoos, and the latest Firestone tires. And be sure to kiss the bricks behind the Pagoda in the Pagoda Plaza.
Finally, make your way back to your seats for the Memorial Day celebration, beginning with the Military March and ending with a flyover. Then, it’s time for the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana”, the waving of the green flag and “Drivers, start your engines!”
Don’t forget, race day is a day full of activities. Think of it as an endurance race, not a sprint, and pace yourself accordingly. Race fans, start your engines!
Schedule of Events
6am Public Gates Open
6am -12:19pm IMS Midway Open – Visit the Firestone Fan Experience!
8am Parade of Bands
8:30- 9:55am Borg-Warner Trophy March to the Bricks
9am 500 Festival Princess Parade Laps
9-10am Celebrity Red Carpet – Pagoda Plaza
10:05am “On the Banks of the Wabash” performed by Purdue University Band
10:35am Indianapolis 500 Winning Drivers Laps
10:55am Historic Race Car Laps
11:33am Indianapolis 500 Driver Introductions
Memorial Day Celebration
11:43am Military March
11:46am “America the Beautiful”
11:48am Military Address delivered by General Joseph Lengyel
11:53am Presentation of Colors
11:53am Invocation delivered by Archbishop Charles Thompson
11:57am “God Bless America”
11:59am National Anthem
12:11pm “Back Home Again in Indiana” performed by Jim Cornelison
12:12pm “Drivers Start Your Engines”
12:19pm 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500
5pm Public Gates Close