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  • Writer's pictureChris Green

Indianapolis Motor Speedway – IMSA

Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Indianapolis Motor Speedway 4790 W 16th St Indianapolis, IN 46222

Year Opened: 1909

Capacity: 257,325


IMSA Returns to Indy

While Indianapolis is synonymous with racing in America, North America’s premier sportscar series hadn’t run there since the early 2010s. While events like the SRO Indy 8 Hours and the SCCA Runoffs have been held there in recent years, IMSA’s return in 2023 was heralded as a return to the promised land. With new infield camping being offered for the first time in the track’s history, options for fans were plentiful for this new race weekend.

Food & Beverage 3

The standard fare is available throughout the concourse and infield thanks to various concession stands. The basics like burgers, fries, chicken fingers, etc. are all available, as well as soda, water, and beer. Fans can also expect a variety of food trucks and independent vendors in the infield Pagoda Plaza.

Atmosphere 5

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the literal definition of a motorsports mecca in the United States. Every inch of the track oozes with history – this in itself should be enough to elevate the track’s profile. However, thanks to the recent purchase of the facility by Roger Penske, various upgrades and renovations have made the track even better than it was before. A new LED display behind the Pagoda and other smaller displays around the track offers fans a chance to see the action no matter where they are. Renovated bathrooms and common areas are also featured in the latest upgrades as well.

The stadium effect of seats on both sides of the track down the front stretch adds to the roar of the engines. Also, the sound of the bagpipes being played in the paddock by the famous Gordon Pipers fills the air during pre-race. It is hard to beat this historic facility for a flair and history mix.

Neighborhood 3

Speedway, Indiana is a unique setting, as you will see both the past and future of the area in a few blocks. Located literally in the middle of a neighborhood, the IMS facility is massive, rising above the rooftops of the nearby homes.

Across the street from the southwest corner of the track is Main Street; here various restaurants and shopping destinations mix with newly constructed apartments and several IndyCar race team HQs. Thursday night before race weekend begins, a fan festival is held here with various race cars on display, driver autographs and Q&A sessions, and live music taking place.

In addition, a mile west of the track along Crawfordsville Road are more shopping and dining options. Hotels are plentiful and nearby as well, with downtown Indy just a short drive east, and multiple hotels just west of I-465 and the track.

Fans 3

The fans at Indy are among the most sport-knowledgeable in racing; you would be hard-pressed to find any others in the US who can top this. Many fans have been going to Indy for various races for decades. However, while expectations were high for the IMSA event, and the pre-race fan walk was packed full of attendees, the overall attendance was certainly not what it could have been.

Access 4

To get to the track you can just follow the signs, literally – there is no shortage of signage on the way to the track. The nearest highway is I-465, with I-74 meeting up with it just north of the track’s exit.

Parking on-site is plentiful both inside and outside the facility, though many of these lots require pre-purchased parking passes. With that said various homes in the area also offer up their driveways for paid parking, as do some of the businesses nearby.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets to the IMSA weekend are relatively well priced; general admission tickets are incredibly low, starting at $20 for Friday, $40 for Saturday, and $50 for Sunday. Reserved seating tickets range from $85 for Friday only in the Hullman Terrace Club to $400 for the full weekend. Compared to prices you will see at the Indy 500, this is an absolute steal. Every ticket also includes infield access and parking, as well as access to the paddock and pre-race fan walk.

Extras 3

Several autograph sessions are held throughout the weekend, including all the IMSA WeatherTech Series teams. The track also has several event stores set up throughout the facility, where you can purchase merchandise from the event and the track, as well as from the drivers.

Finally, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is located onsite in the infield and is open during race days. Fans of the sport will no doubt enjoy looking into the past and enjoying the history of the sport of racing.

Final Thoughts

Fans still flock to the track no matter what is racing here, and the IMSA weekend is incredibly affordable compared to other events. Couple that with the nostalgia factor that Indy injects directly into your soul, and it is hard to skip this now annual stop on the IMSA calendar. Sportscar fans will have plenty to watch throughout the weekend, with no less than four racing series taking to the speedway during the event.

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