Written by Fatima Hasan
The 103rd Indianapolis 500, presented by Gainbridge, is the world’s largest single-day sporting event. Without question, fans attending the race Sunday, May 26, should start their Race Day preparation with two important facts – plan ahead and arrive early. There is so much to do once you arrive on-site…you’ll thank us for this tip later.
One of the largest crowds in decades is expected for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” so fans can best ensure a stress-free day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by arriving by the time all public gates open at 6 a.m. (ET).
“The Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge continues to ride a surge of momentum,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “We expect another amazing Race Day turnout this Sunday. There’s so much to see and do inside the track, even hours before the green flag.”
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.
Seasonal conditions are forecasted for Sunday unlike the near-record heat of last year, but it’s still important for fans to begin hydrating well before they arrive at the track and continue to drink water 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.
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 this year a special exhibit honoring the legendary Mario Andretti and the 50th anniversary of his Indianapolis 500 victory in 1969. Learn more about the Museum’s world-renowned attractions here: www.indyracingmuseum.org.
- Fan Midway: The IMS Midway, located in the infield, includes many fun amenities for fans, including karting on an oval track, eSports, vendor displays and much more.
- Shopping and Food: A wide array of 103rd Running and special Mario Andretti 50th Anniversary 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. As part of a new partnership between IMS and Square, fans will have more than twice as many credit card points of sale to pay with all major credit cards and mobile payments, such as Apple Pay and Google Play, at IMS concessions stands on Race Day. Cash also is accepted.
- Borg-Warner Trophy March to the Bricks: The Borg-Warner Trophy will begin an epic march to the iconic Yard of Bricks at 8:45 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 Matt Damon, Christian Bale and Kelly Clarkson, 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.
…and don’t forget the Indy 500 Snake Pit, a stellar concert presented by Coors Light right at Turn 3.
Other Important Race Day Tips for Fans…
IMS App and Twitter: Download the Brickyard Mobile app, available on both iPhone and Android. Also follow the IMS (@IMS) account 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 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.
Georgetown Road Gate Access: Gates on Georgetown Road have a new configuration for 2019. Fans with grandstand seats north of A Stand are encouraged to walk north along Georgetown Road, instead of entering at Gate 1, to access multiple pedestrian gates for quicker entry and to reduce congestion behind the stands.
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 can enter IMS through Gate 2 or Gate 10, with Gate 10 recommended.
Scooters: IMS has worked closely with stakeholders, including the Town of Speedway, public safety officials and Lime and Bird, to create an option for those who wish to ride scooters to the Indianapolis 500. The Race Day route for scooters is east/west along 10th Street, which is closed to public traffic on Race Day.
Follow Indy 500: