Whether you choose to camp out all weekend in the Coke Lot, purchase seats in the stands, or party in the infield, seasoned race-goers know that making the most out of the Indy 500 takes a little bit of planning and inside knowledge. We asked some members of our Sunglass Warehouse team to dish out their race day advice and share their tips and tricks for an awesome day at the track. Keep reading for the local-approved list of do’s and don’ts for the Indy 500.
1. Bring earplugs
These cars are (really) loud and fast. Earplugs are an absolute must, unless you enjoy a permanent ringing in your ears.
2. Pack plenty of water
If it’s hot and sunny on race day (which it likely will be), temperatures at the track can be scorching. Purchasing water bottles can get expensive, and the last thing you want is to spend a long day out in the sun feeling dehydrated. Bring more than enough water for the day, and don’t forget to actually drink it!
“Do bring water in addition to your beverage of choice. You don’t want to be stuck in 95-degree weather with no shade and no water. Come to think of it, slather on the sunscreen, too.” — Terra Hamilton, Talent Manager
3. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and tons of sunscreen
Our Talent Manager Terra brings up a great point. In addition to drinking lots of water, make sure you protect yourself from the sun with a good pair of sunglasses, a hat, and lots of SPF. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day to ensure coverage. Looking for the perfect 500 getup? Check out our Indy 500 Style Guide here.
4. Plan to get stuck in traffic
Our local experts could not stress this pointer enough. Traffic getting in and out of the race is always insane. Know going into the event that you will spend some time sitting in your car dealing with traffic, and try to make the most of it. Plan your route beforehand and leave at a time that makes sense for you and your group (and if you don’t feel like driving to the Speedway, look into the 500’s shuttle services from downtown Indy). On race day, the track opens at 5 a.m. — many people line up prior to that for a full day of tailgating. If you’re not an early riser, arrive at the track around 8 a.m. for less of a line. To make the most out of your time spent in the car, check out our Memorial Day Playlist for the perfect race weekend mix.
5. Check the weather
Have a plan set in the case of adverse weather. Don’t let your day be ruined by a little rain!
“Indy is really unpredictable when it comes to weather, and just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you should leave. Sometimes race officials dry off the track and continue the race if the rest of the day’s forecast looks clear. The race has been postponed before, but just be careful and have a backup plan if it gets really bad. One year we had to leave because tornadoes were coming.” — Molly Borter, Content Manager
1. Expect good cell phone coverage
With over 300,000 attendees, most of our local experts agreed they’ve never had exceptional cell phone coverage while at the Speedway. Have an agreed upon meeting point at the track, in case you and your friends get separated and you can’t reach each other by phone. It’s also a good idea to bring a car phone charger, especially if you’re camping overnight.
2. Bring glass bottles
One nice thing about the race is that most anything goes when it comes to what food and drink you want to bring inside the Speedway — but there are a few forbidden items. Check out the full list of items you can and can’t bring into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway here. One thing in particular race officials will not budge on is glass bottles. Don’t waste your time or money. Just don’t bring them.
“Check cooler specs online before you head to the race. Last year, I had friends who were told to leave their coolers outside because they were too big. And NO glass bottles. No really means no in this case.” — Nate Schrader, Arguably Indy’s Biggest Race Fan
3. Wear uncomfortable shoes
Even if you’re sitting in the stands, you’ll probably want to get up and walk around at some point. Wear comfortable, breathable shoes that you don’t mind getting a little sloppy, especially if you’re frolicking around in the infield or camping out in the Coke Lot.
4. Wait too long for a bathroom pit stop
We had to mention it. Expect really long lines, especially in the infield. When you gotta go, you gotta go, so be sure to hop in line early. Just trust us.
5. Underestimate the infield
Speaking of the infield, never underestimate the commitment of these diehard race fans. Should you choose to partake in the infield festivities of race day, prepare yourself for a long day of games, drinks, and shenanigans. But don’t let the party animals scare you away — all of our local experts agreed that everyone should experience race day from the infield at least once. We have a feeling that once you try it, you won’t have it any other way.