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The Brickyard 400 is the NASCAR race that takes place every summer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I had never been to a NASCAR race before but my uncle got free tickets so I decided to drive down and check it out. I had a great time.
The crowd at a NASCAR race is different to say the least, but they are very passionate about their favorite drivers and very educated about this sport. If you ask anything about NASCAR they will be able to answer it.
Equipment: It is a good idea to get there early to get parking and spend some time taking in the atmosphere. Make sure you get there in time for the driver introductions as they parade around the track. Parking will be easy to find but expect to pay anywhere from $20 and up.
It is also a good idea to get your tickets ahead of time. Tickets cost anywhere from $35 to $85 and then more if you use a scalper. You can also get tickets to practice and qualifying on the days before the race.
Check the website for exact details of the next race.
Indy 500 Practice & Time Trials
I haven't been to an Indianapolis 500 race yet, but the practice and time trials can be fun to watch. You are still at one of the most historic speedways in the world, and you still get a great look at the cars used in the race. Not everything is race-related either. There are plenty of activities going on throughout the day, and there is always the museum.
Practice and qualifying days are held during the 3 weeks leading up to race day, which is always the Sunday before Memorial Day every May. Check the website for a schedule.
Personally, I think the best day to go is Bubble Day (or Bump Day). This is the final day of qualifying where certain drivers are "on the bubble" to qualify for the race with other drivers trying to steal those final spots on the starting grid. You can feel the pressure with each driver heading out to the track, and they will always give their best effort with a spot in the race on the line.
If you can get a Pit Pass, you can get up close to all the action, walk near the garages, along the pits, and see Gasoline Alley, which is the path between the garages and the pits. You will spot some drivers and possibly some celebrities.
Admission to practice is $5, and is $10 to qualifying and Carburation Day. Parking prices can be ridiculous, but is available everywhere around the track. Don't bother getting a prepaid parking pass for practice days - you will find something.
US Grand Prix
The US Grand Prix is held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway every year. It has the highest attendance of all races on the F1 circuit. The course is not as beautiful as other F1 venues, but it is historic and a great place to take in a race. After all, Indianapolis is all about racing.
The race is held every June starting in 2004 (previously September).
Tickets can be ordered online. The lowest price for a ticket is $60 for General Admission. If you want to sit in a stand, you will pay anywhere from $75-150 depending on location. Parking will cost anywhere from $20-$50.
Equipment: Get there early! I would say between 8 and 9 AM is good. It will be jam packed. Bring sunglasses and sunscreen. Food prices are expensive, so I would also pack a cooler with plenty of water and food, but check the rules for size of coolers allowed.
Buy or bring earplugs - these cars are LOUD. Also, if you are not familiar with the drivers, buy a program so you know who is who.
The greatest spectacle in racing...
Commonly referred to as "the greatest spectacle in racing", the Indianapolis 500 mile race first started in 1911. Since then, the race has only been suspended during the years in which America was involved in World War I and World War II.
Growing up in central Indiana, I have been fortunate to have gone to the race many times. It truly is something to witness at least once in your lifetime; and, if you are a racing fan, it's an absolute must. The crowd alone is incredible with over 250,000 people craming into the stands at the corner of Sixteenth Street and Georgetown Road. Then there's the roar of the enigines and warm breeze that blows in your face as 33 open wheel race cars scream passed you at speeds over two hundred miles per hour.
Equipment: As a spectator, take a cushion for your "ace", some fried chicken for your belly and plenty of beers for your added enjoyment.
I grew up just three miles from the third turn, my dad having worked in public relations for USAC; his father having been a professional race driver. I traveled with Dad many weekends of many summers to many different tracks, but Indy always felt like it was "mine".
Equipment: You can never tell what the month of May will be like in Indy. Could be cold and wet, could be warm and dry. Going to the track, bring comfortable clothing for the weather, and maybe a seat cushion.
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