Fans should arrive 2 hours early before gates open for ‘epic’ Indy 500, IMS officials say

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Race fans should arrive early.

That's the message from IMS officials ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. IMS president Doug Boles and Allison Melangton from Hulman & Co. said fans who typically go to the race should give themselves an additional two hours to make it to the track on race day. They said fans will find plenty to do.

All eyes will be on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 100th running. ESPN's SportsCenter will broadcast live from the track on race day morning. Fans hoping to get their face on TV should get a prime spot on Pagoda Plaza.

Gates open at 6 a.m. and fans will also have the chance to see the Borg-Warner Trophy, escorted by the Gordon Pipers, make its journey to the Yard of Bricks.

"We're going to try and encourage fans to get here a couple hours early so that we don't have any issues at the gate," said Boles. "Because we sold every reserve seat, parking's at a premium. If you don't have a parking credential already, you need to start thinking about where you're going to park."

All official IMS parking space is already sold out for race day.  Fans are encouraged to arrive early so they can find alternative parking options.

“There’s going to be lots of public parking with entrepreneurial parking, I guess I would call it,” Melangton said.

One of those entrepreneurial parkers is Chuck Reed, who lives near the Speedway.  He’s been parking cars in his front and side yards for 15 years.  He expects to make about $500 over the course of the race weekend.

“They call me and say hey Chuck, we’re coming out and I say okay,” Reed said.  “I know where they’re going to park, they give me their name.  I have a list in the house.”

Many of Chuck’s neighbors and Speedway businesses also offer paid parking in their lots and yards.  Speedway High School, Speedway Middle School and James A Allison Elementary School will also offer paid parking in their lots on race day.  Those spots are on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The money the schools collect will go toward the band and athletic departments.

All 1200 camping spaces in Lot 1-C are also sold out.  Spaces in the rest of the “Coke Lot” will also be on a first come first serve basis.

Boles said pre-race activities are being made available to encourage fans to get that early start.

Melangton said the first 100,000 fans to arrive will get a bottle of milk so they can enjoy the taste of victory along with this year's winner.

"We'd like to encourage people to start making their personal plan now for their race day experience to really take advantage of it and enjoy it," Melangton said.

Here's a rundown of race day activities set for Sunday, May 29:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum open at 6 a.m.: The IMS Museum, featuring a special "50 Years of Team Penske in Racing" exhibit, will open to visitors at 6 a.m. Learn more about all of the museums attractions here: http://www.indyracingmuseum.org/.

Enhanced fan Midway open at 6 a.m.: This year's fan Midway features several exciting attractions, including the IMS Kids Zone and interactive activations from PlayStation, Mattel, New Era, Coca-Cola and more. The action-packed Chevy Stage is also in the lot adjacent to the Midway.

Shopping and food: 100th Running attire will go fast, so don't miss out! Grab breakfast and then shop for family and friends while supplies last. Retail and food options are available at 6 a.m.

100,000 Milk Bottles: Prairie Farms and the Indiana chapter of the American Dairy Association will distribute 100,000 milk bottles to fans on Race Day for an epic Milk Toast with the winner of the 100th Running. Don't miss your chance to be a part of history! Be first in line to grab a milk bottle.

SportsCenter from Pagoda Plaza: ESPN's SportsCenter will broadcast four live episodes from IMS this Month of May, with two being taped on Race Morning. The first episode tapes from 8 - 9 a.m. and you'll want to be in the Plaza early for a prime spot, behind the set and on-camera! If you want your friends and family to see you on national TV, this is the place to be.

Borg-Warner Trophy March to the Yard of Bricks at 8 a.m.: The Borg-Warner Trophy will begin an epic March to the Yard of Bricks at 8 a.m. from the basement doors of the IMS Museum. Line up outside the museum for a chance to see the Trophy - escorted by the Gordon Pipers - begin its journey.
Rolling Stage: This year, for the first time in recent memory, a rolling stage with musical entertainment will begin circling the track at 10 a.m. New York a cappella group Naturally 7 will play in Turns 1, 2 and 4.

Epic pre-race, be in your seat for it!: This year's pre-race will feature two fantastic flyovers, military tributes, "Back Home Again in Indiana" sung by Josh Kaufman and the Indianapolis Children's Choir, the national Anthem from Darius Rucker and Mario Andretti and Keith Urban teaming up for the "Fastest Seat in Sports" ride. Don't be waiting in line when pre-race starts.

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