INDIANAPOLIS – There are three important facts to remember for every fan attending the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – plan ahead, arrive early and hydrate.
One of the largest crowds in decades is expected for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the largest single-day spectator sporting event on Earth, so fans can best ensure a stress-free day at the track by arriving by the time all public gates open at 6 a.m. (ET).
“Last year’s attendance was the best attendance we’ve had in over a decade at the Indianapolis 500 by a significant number, except for the 100th Running (in 2016),” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “This year we are tracking to be significantly higher than last year. This will be another one of those amazing Indianapolis 500 crowds.
“With that, it’s important to remember that we want folks to plan ahead so they know where they’re going to park and to be patient when they come in through the gates. Once again, like the 100th Running, it’s most important to start thinking about coming a little bit earlier.”
A perfect way for fans to prepare for Race Day is to visit the special Plan Ahead section of the IMS website, ims.com/planahead , a special interactive page that serves as a home base for fans attending the Speedway during the Month of May.
The “Plan Ahead” page features detailed information about the entire fan experience at IMS, including directions, parking, track map, schedule, camping, gate regulations, tickets, ADA accessibility and much more.
Warm, humid conditions are forecasted for Sunday, so fans are encouraged to begin hydrating well before they arrive at the track and continue to drink as much water as possible at the track. Fans are permitted to bring coolers no larger than 18″ x 14″ x 14″, with the reminder that no glass bottles are allowed.
“We want to make sure that everybody here is safe,” IMS Director of Medical Services Dr. Geoffrey Billows said. “What we recommend is you make sure you hydrate. Don’t wait till the day of the event. Start a day or so before. You want to keep your tank full.
“When you’re here, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, some type of electrolyte solution, as well. When you come here, we recommend that you would wear very lightweight, light-colored clothing.”
Five cooling buses will be stationed around the property on Race Day, with two near the IU Health Emergency Medical Center in the infield, one near the Snake Pit presented by Coors Light concert venue inside Turn 3 and one outside of Turn 4. Approximately 75 misting stations also are positioned around the property to help fans beat the heat.
Gates at IMS open at 6 a.m. following the traditional cannon blast. From there, fans looking to beat traffic and avoid longer lines can take advantage of many fun opportunities, including:
•IMS Museum: The Museum, which opens at 6 a.m. on Race Day, features a special exhibit honoring the legendary Unser family this year. Learn more about the Museum’s world-renowned attractions here: www.indyracingmuseum.org.
•Fan Midway: The IMS Midway, located in the infield, includes many new features this year for fans of all ages. Go karting and check out the virtual reality simulators, displays and more.
•Shopping and Food: A wide array of 102nd Running attire and collectibles will go fast, so don’t miss out! Shop for family and friends while supplies last. All concessions and retailers will open at 6 a.m.
•Borg-Warner Trophy March to the Bricks: Back by popular demand, the Borg-Warner Trophy will begin an epic march to the iconic Yard of Bricks at 8 a.m. from the IMS Museum. Line up outside the west side of the Museum for a chance to see one of the most famous trophies in the world – escorted by the Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers – begin its journey to Victory Podium.
•IMS Red Carpet: Many celebrities, including superstars Kelly Clarkson and Chris Hemsworth, will walk the IMS Red Carpet, located just north of Pagoda Plaza, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. The fans lining up in the viewing area earliest will have the best view of Race Day celebrities.
•Epic Pre-Race! Be in your seat for it: This year’s pre-race ceremonies will serve as a fitting, stunning tribute to our nation’s military heroes and continue as America’s greatest Memorial Day Weekend sporting tradition. Be in your seat early to ensure you see every can’t-miss moment.
Other Important Race Day Tips for Fans
•IMS App and Twitter: Download the IMS app, available on both iPhone and Android. Also follow the IMS (@IMS), Town of Speedway Police (@SpeedwayPD) and Indiana State Police ( @IndStatePolice) accounts on Twitter for the latest Race Day information.
•Cooler, Backpack Restrictions: No coolers larger than 18 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches can be brought into the facility, which will be strictly enforced. Fans will be allowed to bring one cooler and one standard backpack or book bag per person.
• Smoke-Free Grandstands: Smoking (including cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and vapes) will not be permitted in any IMS grandstands. Fans wishing to smoke will be asked to do so 20 feet away from buildings and seating entrances. Smoking will continue to be allowed in the IMS infield.
•Parking: All IMS exterior parking lots open at 5 a.m. on Race Morning, while interior lots open at 6 a.m. All IMS exterior and interior parking is sold out, including ADA parking.
•Gate 2, Gate 10 Access: Gate 2 and Gate 10 are not accessible via car on Race Day without a pre-paid parking pass. Fans with a pre-paid parking pass in Turn 3 must enter IMS through Gate 10, not Gate 2.
•Road Closures: To increase the safety and security of race patrons, the Speedway Police Department will close Georgetown Road and 16th Street to all vehicular traffic during the running of the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.
Georgetown Road will be closed south of 25th Street beginning at 7 a.m. After Georgetown Road is closed, no vehicular traffic, including placarded traffic, will be allowed to access the roadway. Race patrons with pre-paid parking passes who are accustomed to entering IMS Gate 7 must enter through Gate 2 (W. 16th Street) or Gate 10 (30th Street).
Upon completion of the race, Georgetown Road will remain closed to vehicular traffic until the vast majority of race pedestrian foot traffic clears from the roadway (approximately one hour after the race).
In addition, 16th Street will be closed between Olin Avenue on the east to the 16th Street roundabout on the west from approximately noon until the race ends. In addition, 16th Street will not be accessible from Polco Street, as it will be blocked at 10th Street.
Once 16th Street is closed, traffic traveling east on Crawfordsville Road from the west will be turned around at the 16th Street roundabout. Traffic traveling west on 16th Street from downtown will be diverted south on Olin Avenue.
•Exiting the Facility: Fans are encouraged to remember to be patient when leaving IMS after the race. There’s no need to rush to your car, as parking lots are held until law enforcement deems the roads safe for vehicular traffic. This process takes slightly more time but keeps everyone safer when heading home.
•More Traffic, Road Information: Drivers can learn the locations of work zones and highway restrictions by calling INDOT’s TrafficWise at 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) or viewing an online map at pws.trafficwise.org or visiting @TrafficWise on Twitter. ISP will offer updates on traffic and parking on Twitter and Facebook.
For more information regarding access to IMS, visit IMS.com. For additional information, follow on Twitter the Indiana State Police @IndStatePolice, the Speedway Police Department @SpeedwayPD or listen to radio stations WNFI-AM 1070 or WIBC-FM 93.1.
The Speedway Police Department can be reached for non-emergency services by dialing 311 on a cell phone. The goal of 311 is to provide an easy-to-remember number for non-emergency services while freeing up 911 lines for timely emergency respons