You are free to mention the Colts (see my review of the Lucas Oil Stadium Tour), but finally, if you think about Indianapolis as a sports fan (and are not fully motor sports ignorant), you think of the Indy 500. Apart from the Weird Al Yankovic concert, which drove me into the city, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the key touristic highlight of my visit to the city,
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Location
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is located in the Northwest of the center of the city. The easiest way to access the site is by car. During ordinary days (no race days), you can park right next to the museum, where the tours are also incepting.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Tickets & Tours
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is opening every day. Opening times are 10:00 to 16:00 from November to February and 9:00 to 17:00 hrs in the summer months.
There are multiple different tours of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The smallest one, the Kiss The Bricks Tour, costs 22 USD (adult) and is just a bus tour around the speedway with a stop at the bricks start/finish line. For 3 USD more, you get some stops including Gasoline Alley. I went for the 90 minute and 32 USD VIP Full Grounds Tour, which includes all stops shown below. If you like to have a more individual trip, the two hour golf cart tour is 50 USD each. All tickets listed include admission to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which you visit on your own.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – VIP Tours
The VIP Tour around the circuit is done in buses of some twenty people. I arrived at the day of the tour – and as I came from Chicago, I did not pre-book my morning VIP Tour. The bus was not sold out, so that was no issue. Each bus has a driver and a guide, both were very helpful, answered questions and told stories around the speedway.
The first stage you take is the lap around the track – at least you almost do it as you go anti-clockwise from about the end of the pit lane to famous brick start and finish line. The guides gave a lot of information while driving on the oval, before we could explore the area and also touch (or kiss) the brick line.
The tour then headed on to the faciltiies, starting with the Media Center. Taking a picture at the press conference booth was of course a must to me, before heading on to the podium. We headed on up to race control and the tower with a brief look inside the most exclusive VIP area.
The next stop of the tour was the podium (again, with a lot of photo time), before we went to the control room and VIP facilities. From there, you also had a great view on the flag position on the finish line.
Another cool stop was looking at the pace cars and have a brief view of the pit area. The tour concluded with the famous Gasoline Alley, the NASCAR (and formerly Formula One) pits and some minor facilities.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – The Museum
I visited the museum after the tour. The first thing you recognize is an incredible collections of cars, almost all linked to the hiistory of the track. There are quite old cars up to very modern models – mainly Indy Car and some Formula One models, but not too many NASCAR ones.
A great place to stroll around and recall memories are the pictures on the wall, which commemorate the winners of all Indianapolis mjaor races so far. There are a lot of additional pictures and stories about these races as well. If you head on towards the more remote exhibition rooms, you can also see a lot of cups and other memorabilia of the speedway. There is also a racing simulator, which allows you to have a touch of real Indy Car Racing (for a minor fee).
At least during my visit, there was also an exhibition focusing on the Andrettis, likely the most well-known American racing family. A very interesting selection of items from private and professional cars to racing gear and even obscure items like a Mario Andretti pinball machine.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Shopping / Services
Of course, going to Indy is also about grabbing the latest merch – either about the I.M.S. itself or about the stars or (North American) motor sports. There are two major souvenir stores at the entrance to the museum, both serve quite a variety of items. Prices are in reasonable range.
One thing I just have to emphasize was the friendly customer service and also the attitude and pride the people worked for the Indy 500 track. Taking a picture with the race car below, having a snap at the press booth or with the brick line, they were very helpful and neither of these snaps costed something. Highly appreciated it.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – My View
Visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a dream of me – and the place definitely met my expectations. Very nice tour, great guides, good stops, nice museum, a fair price – I feel that is top level entertainment and information, even if you are not too much in motor sports. There is no doubt that you have to checkbox these sacred ground of racing if you are in Indiana. Your trip would just not be complete without it. Top Pick? Definitely!
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