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Loyal Indy 500 fans arrive early for race weekend celebrations

Early celebrations underway for Indy 500

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — The Meyer family has been coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 22 years as a family.

They brings campers and, this year, their camper compound built a mobile bar for the family.

The Meyer family arrived early and on Thursday was setting up for the Indianapolis 500 race weekend. They’ve been busy setting up shelter and cooking up good food, all with sounds of laughter in the air.

David Meyer said, “My father started this back in the late 1960s. He was working a concession booth for his church to help with the athletics. He did that until 1970 when he decided that he had some friends at work that wanted to go to the race. So, he set up a camp. It was in 2002 when he did his first camp out here.”

Another race fan, Tom Stevens holds an impressive 69 years attending the Indy 500. His displays his tickets outside his temporary home outside the track.

“These first 10 tickets right here, that’s my age 13 through 22. I was either in school or college.”

His ticket tradition started with his father. He put together frames, showcasing the same box and seat numbers on tickets throughout the decades.

“In 2009, we had an estate sale for my mom. We had been there a couple of hours and my sister says, ‘Hey Tommy! Look what I found!’ and there was a plastic wrapper in the back of the cabinet of the dining room that had all of these ticket stubs in there,” Stevens said.

He says the most important value he’s carried with him from his parents is the fanfare and traditions of the Indy 500. “I think its longevity is important. My dad had about 47 years. I think my mom gained 51 years, and my brother is two years behind me,” Stevens said.

The Stevens family buys 32 tickets so his children and grandchildren can attend, too. In total, they are expecting about 50 people by Saturday night for the race.

“We have made T-shirts every year. So each year that I come to the track, I would say about a third of the people in Lot 2 know me,” Stevens said.

Many race fans on Thursday evening were awaiting on their family members to arrive, and most celebrations will kick off Friday.

Photos below are from News 8’s Reyna Revelle.