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May 9, 2003
From journal Second week in Indy
February 10, 2003
Every May, you can hear the roar of the engines from miles away. The track was built in 1909 and came into the Hulman family in 1945, remaining in the Hulman/George family ever since. The entire track was originally built with bricks. When the track was updated and paved, the Speedway wanted to keep the essence of the previous track. To do this, the original bricks still remain and mark the start/finish line of this 2.5-mile oval. There have been many changes and additions over the years. Ten to twenty years ago, there were two types of people that went to the 500: one to watch the race, the other to party in the "Snake Pit." The infield of the track was very well known to everyone as the snake pit. May in Indianapolis usually brings rain, and the infield was comprised of dirt, turning to mud, turning into the pit. People in the pit didn’t watch the race; they usually were passed out by race time and entertained themselves by holding up signs saying "Show us your ____" (you can imagine!). Over the past few years, the Speedway has tried to clean up their act and begun installing bleachers along almost the entire inside track area. Today, the snake pit lives only in memories.
Prior to the 500 race, there are practice days and qualifying weekends to see what place the drivers will start in. During practice, you can visit the garage area and the pits. For practice and the race alike, the best place to sit is either in the first or fourth turns. This is where the most action takes place, whether it be passing or a spin-out, and you can still see the straightaway. For a day that is either bright and sunny or calling for rain, the Paddock is a nice place to sit. It’s on the outside of the track directly across from the pits. While it’s difficult to see action in the turns, what makes these seats nice is they have a roof over them, whereas none of the other sections do. Seats for the race usually go for $35 to $85 dollars.
Besides the 500 race on Memorial Day weekend, Nascar races are held in August (the Brickyard) along with Formula races in September. There’s even a golf course in the infield open during golfing seasons.
While at the track, visit the Hall of Fame Museum. The admission fee is $3 for adults and $1 for children. Inside, you will find old and new race cars, including all four of A. J. Foyt’s winning cars. There are trophies, pictures, a souvenir shop, and a theater where you can watch 500 highlights. If you’d like, there’s also a bus ride around the track--not going the typical 200 mph, though!
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway truly is the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
From journal What to do in the Circle City - Indianapolis