YES!!! I’m Going to the Indy 500!

Indy Car
John P.

Well, the good folks over at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway invited me once again to attend the Indy 500 (I couldn’t make it last year), and were kind enough to give me full press credentials so that I can take all the photos I want and bring you guys the inside story behind the world’s largest single-day spectator sporting event.

I plan on driving from Dallas to Indianapolis so that I can carry all my gear. Of course, I’ll have all my photo and video stuff, but I’ll also take a cooler, portable chairs, and other goodies to enjoy while parking in the infield during the big race.

My goal is to bring back a ton of photos and behind the scenes stories to let you guys all know what it’s really like to be at the Indy 500. Considering I’ll have full access to the pits, the track and just about everything else, I’m going to spend 4 days there to try and really get a good feel for it.

The Indy schedule looks pretty good for Thursday through Sunday (race day) so hopefully I’ll get a little time with some drivers, crews, and to practice some high speed photography and get my settings right for the big day.

I Could Use Some Help!

First of all, have any of you been to the Indy 500, or for that matter any of the other NASCARIRL (Indy Racing League) races? If so, I could use all the advice you can give! I’ve never been to one of these events, which is crazy considering what a car guy I am.

  • I’m scared of competing with 250,000 people for parking on race day! I do have a special parking pass but just the sheer madness of getting in could be frustrating. Any tips?
  • How close can you get if you park in the infield?
  • What should I bring with me to the event?
  • Anything in particular you’d like me to try and do / see / photo / interview while I’m there?

The Trip

The route I’m taking up from Dallas will be through St. Louis, where I plan to visit some friends and also try and get some good shots of the Arch.

I haven’t decided if I’m coming back the same way or if I’ll head down through Tennessee yet. So if anyone has suggestions on things I should definitely see between Dallas and Indy please share those with me so I can try and figure out if I need to change the route to accomodate.

Looking forward to your advice and feedback!


  1. bdavis20 says

    The Indy 500 is, according to Wikipedia, “the greatest spectacle in racing.” And indeed it is! I was never a race fan as a child, growing up watching it with my father and constantly being bored. However, my first trip to the 500 changed that for good! Although still not much of a Nascar fan, the indy cars are AWESOME! You will never forget the noises that those cars make flying past you; that is if you can still hear afterward. The infield is great to watch the race, but the stands are of course great, too!

  2. says

    John, Let’s talk in person. 1) I’ve done that drive many times and 2) i grew up in Indy & spent a lot of time at the track. You’re going to have a blast. And of all the comments made so far yes, ear protection is a must. We should chat at the next #ocdfw meeting, I’ll pull together some must do stuff between now and then

  3. says

    My wife and I lived in Indianapolis for a year and a half and attended the Indy 500 one year. My best advice is to bring some nice, comfortable ear plugs.

    And leaving after the race is over can be kind of scary due to the sheer mass of humanity, since they don’t publish how many people can actually attend the race, estimates run as high as 350,000 to 400,000 people, I recommend waiting around until the crush has waned before trying to find your car.

  4. says

    Yes, that was my first thought – ear protection. I went almost deaf in one ear at the first F1 Grand Prix when it came to Australia, & that was just in a practice session!

  5. says

    I’ve never been to the Indy 5000, but I can still give you some advice:

    1, The Indy 500 is in the IRL (Indy Racing League), not NASCAR. It’s also called “Open wheel”, as opposed to NASCAR, which are closed wheel (“stock cars”). In other words, you’d do well to not say, “This is my first NASCAR race” when you get there!

    2, Ear protection. And backup ear protection. These races are LOUD. What would have been really useful the one time I went to a NASCAR race (yes, see #1, but still…) was combination ear protection and earphones (and no, active noise canceling headphones don’t help), attached to a portable FM radio (the announcements are on loudspeakers — all but useless once they start racing, and may also be on a local FM transmitter). When I went to a NASCAR race, I had earplugs that protected my ears, but I was still clueless about what was going on.

    • says

      Thanks for the correction Michael! You can tell I’m a total newbie here, but I’m learning quickly. :-)

      I’m glad you told me the noise canceling ones don’t help. I’ll have to find something else!

      John P.

  6. says

    Hey John, Indy is a blast!

    I went a few years ago and had a great time. I attended with my brother in-law who has season tickets so I just tagged along for the ride. So, I can’t tell you the first thing about where to park, etc. since I was with a seasoned vet when I went.

    I have been doing some race photography lately, motorcycles, and I have a blast doing it. I look forward to seeing your photos and can’t wait to hear about your experience.

    Here are some of my recent photos from the CMRA races in Decatur, TX.

    Take care

    • says

      Great shots Kevin! I would love to get down there to shoot some of those myself one of these days. Heck, I’d like to get my BMW on the track as well!

      John P.

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