Indianapolis Ind. (WISH) – This is year three for the Indianapolis 500, and leaders at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway say upgrading the fan experience was a top priority this year. For people heading to the track Friday and Saturday, there will be a lot to do.
Friday is qualifying races and gates open at 8 A.M. at IMS. The last qualifying race is around 3 p.m.
Friday is also “Free Garage Friday,” and any ticket holder is able to access a section of the IMS garages that is normally only available to individuals with credentials or badges. It’s available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and fans should enter and exit through the southwest garage gate.
At 12:45 p.m. there will be an autograph session with drivers at the IndyCar Fan Village.
Saturday the race gates open at 8 a.m. and drivers will be introduced around 3 p.m. Reserved Seats come with full general admission access. Fans can sit in the grandstands or roam around the infield. IMS President Doug Boles said this is a great warm up for the Indy 500.
“The one thing that’s interesting and different from the Indy 500 is our fans start thinking maybe they don’t want to reserve a seat at some level, especially on Thursday and Friday,” said Boles. “They love to walk around and sit on the spectator mats. It’s a real transient crowd they love to check it out from different angles it’s really an up close and personal relationship with the race cars, versus the 500 at some level. So it’s just a different crowd, and it’s a different vibe when we’re in here.It’s sort of a festival feel.”
According to leaders, one of the more difficult things about this year will be parking.
Doug Boles said he expects that this year more fans will park like the old days, along the streets of Speedway and will walk over to the traffic. Uber and taxis have designated drop off and pickup spots to ease traffic in the area.
Click here to view Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis event schedule.