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Bonus Eclipse Episode: Indianapolis Motor Speedway prepares for eclipse-viewing party

April 08, 2024

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday was gearing up for Monday’s total solar eclipse.

As the home of the Indianapolis 500, billed as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the track is ready to become the biggest viewing party for the greatest spectacle in space.

The speedway will hand out “the greatest spectacles” for eclipse viewing, which are IMS-themed solar glasses.

IMS will open the track at 2:15 p.m. Monday so people can venture on the track for the actual eclipse and experience totality on the over-100-year-old oval.

The team started planning its eclipse-viewing party on April 8, 2018, and expects at least 50,000 people to come to the track.

Doug Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said Sunday, “I think the atmosphere will be a lot of fun. It’s going to be different, obviously, than a race crowd. Around 75% of the people that are coming never purchased anything from the speedway before, so likely they’ve never even been here before so that’s going to be new.”

NASA will set up shop at IMS. Retired astronaut Drew Feustel will be among other activities and even some gear-like rocket engines.

“If you think about racing and space, there’s a lot of crossover,” Boles said. “A lot of the engineering and math that goes into having a great spacecraft is the same kind of stuff that has a great race car, so there are a lot of similarities and we are excited to partner with them.”

Boles say the party has the potential to be the largest eclipse gathering in the United States because IMS can handle so many people.