Longtime Indianapolis 500 ticket holders reflect on decades spent at the track

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. – The Indianapolis 500 is much more than a sporting event. For many families, attending is a tradition spanning decades!

Everyone is a friend in Lot 4 for Esther and John Brockman.

The couple came to the Indianapolis 500, as their first out-of-town date, as graduate students in Ohio.

Sunday’s historic race will be their 47th in a row.

“It’s not only the world’s center of speed, but it’s also one of the great places to come as a family,” said John Brockman.

Through the years they brought friends and family to camp. It’s a tradition that continues.

“Eight different states are coming in the next two days to go to the race with us,” he said.

They are well known in Lot 4, helping IMS staff and greeting campers, while never forgetting with every year there’s always a story.

“Yes, you do have the shenanigans, the mishaps, the things that happen in here, but it’s all part of it,” said Esther Brockman, “There are just so many weird, wacky things that go on in here."

Ned Yingst has a tale that goes back a bit longer.

“Coming up will be my 67th,” he said.

The 85-year old and native Hoosier first went to the race at 19 with a group of buddies and his then-girlfriend Beverly.

“We just kind of got the idea we should go to a 500, and then we decided we should take our ladies with us, too,” he said.

They’ve been married for 58 years.

“We have four children, and as soon as they were able to know what was going down, we took them to the races,” he said.

Ned gives his kids Indianapolis 500 tickets as their Christmas present. Their family will fill 18 seats at the historic race on Sunday.

He still has the ticket from his first race in 1950, along with all the others.

“The first time I went to that race, the hair on my neck stood up,” he said, “I was so excited to see those cars coming down the back stretch.”

Ned’s predictions for Sunday? He thinks it’ll be a shootout, up until the very end.

“I think they’ll hang together for a long time. These cars are so evenly matched, and they all have the goal of being number one, so they’re going to hang there together and be a race,” he said.