Earlier this year we were finally able to visit Indianapolis and tour their state Capitol building. While in the area we definitely had to make a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I will start by saying I am not a huge race fan, but I was excited to be able to take a tour and learn more about its history and some of its past winners. I do have to say, I like the looks of the Indy cars and was looking forward to seeing them in person.
Before I share a little bit of the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I will say getting tickets for a tour can be challenging. It is such a popular attraction in Indianapolis that it can and does, fill up very fast, especially depending on the time of year. I highly suggest calling ahead (number below) and seeing about making reservations in advance. At least that is what we did. We didn’t get to do one part that Gene really wanted to do, take a lap around the oval track. 🙁 There was an event going on, but we were had a great time on the tour seeing everything else. Gene did get to “Kiss the Bricks” (pic a little bit below).
For those that may not know, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home to the Indy 500, Nascars’s Brickyard 400, the Pennzoil 150, and the former home of the US Grand Prix. Apparently, it is the largest sports venue in the world with a seating capacity of 257, 325. It is HUGE. It is also the third oldest permanent automobile track in the world, behind Brooklands and the Milwaukee Mile. The first Indy 500 was run on Memorial Day (or Decoration Day), May 30, 1911.
The track is a 2.5-mile-long (4.0 km) rectangular oval with dimensions that have remained essentially unchanged since its construction. It has two 5⁄8-mile-long (1,000 m) straightaways, four geometrically identical 1⁄4-mile (400 m) turns, connected by two 1⁄8-mile (200 m) short straightaways, termed “short chutes”, between turns 1 and 2, and between turns 3 and 4.
One of the first things we learned was that the speedway is NOT in Indianapolis. It is actually located about 6 miles west of Indianapolis in the city of Speedway, hence the name. Thought that was an interesting fact.
Tours of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
There are several tours you can take while visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which all include a free self-guided museum tour. For more information, schedules, or to book a tour, call 317-492-6784 or email TOURS@BRICKYARD.COM.
Kiss the Bricks
This 30 Minute narrated tour takes guests around the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, with a stop at the start/finish line for an opportunity to “Kiss the Bricks” – the 1909 vintage paving bricks kissed by race winners since 1996.
Senior (62+) $24
Youth (6-15) $15
Children (5 and under) Free
VIP Grounds Tour
This 90 Minute narrated tour takes guests to “behind the scenes” landmarks such as the Pagoda, Timing and Scoring Media Center, and Grease Alley. You also take a lap around the famed IMS oval and stop at the Start/Finish line to “Kiss the Bricks”.
Senior (62+) $31
Youth (6-16) $20
Children (6 and under) Not recommended for children under 12
Golf Cart Tour
This two-hour guided tour provides exclusive insight into the historic Speedway facility, all from the comfort of a golf cart. As well as on the VIP tour, you will see landmarks such as the Pagoda, Timing and Scoring Media Center, Garages, Victory Podium, Snake Pit, a Suite, and Grease Alley. You also take a lap around the famed IMS oval and stop at the Start/Finish line to “Kiss the Bricks”. If you book this tour, you will have a one-on-one discussion with an Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum tour guide and of course a tour of the Museum.
Senior (62+) $50
Youth (6-16) $50
Children (6 and under) Not available for children under 12
If you are only interested in the museum tour, you can do that as well.
Senior (62+) $14
Youth (6-16) $8
We decided to splurge a little and did the Gold Cart tour. It was amazing and we got a couple of lanyards to keep. Pretty nice setup and it was fun only having us and the tour guide. Our tour guide was great in answering any questions we had and sharing his love of the track. I love it when you get a tour guide with a passion for what they do.
After the tour, we were able to tour the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which houses their Hall of Fame. This is what I wanted to see, a bunch of cars, lol. I wasn’t disappointed. The museum originally opened in a different location on April 7, 1956. Its exhibits included Ray Harroun’s 1911 Indy 500 winning car, and a handful of other vehicles. By 1961 the museum was seeing an average of 5,000 visitors per week (not including month of May crowds), and they knew they needed to expand. They built a new 96,000 square foot museum which opened to the public on April 5, 1976. I thought it was interesting it opened almost exactly 20 years later.
On display in the museum are about 75 cars at any given time. With floor space totaling 37,500 square feet, only a small portion of the total collection can be displayed at any given time. Their collection is impressive though. They have over thirty Indianapolis 500 winning cars, various other Indy cars, and several racing cars from other disciplines. It also includes pace cars and passenger cars, with a particular focus on those manufactured in Indiana and by Indiana companies.
There is also another section that includes trophies, plaques, and racing paraphernalia such as helmets, gloves, and driver’s suits. Rotating exhibits include such elements as model cars, photographs, toys, and paintings. Of course, the one you couldn’t miss is the Borg-Warner Trophy. It is quite impressive and is the trophy presented to the winner of the Indianapolis 500.
We had a phenomenal visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I am so glad that we spent a little more doing the golf cart tour. Still a little disappointed that we weren’t able to do a full lap around the track, it was a wonderful experience. We were there in April and they were getting ready for the Indy 500. You could feel the excitement in the air. Hopefully, we can make it to a race one day. In the meantime, here is a link to their website if you want to plan your own visit to the track or museum. Let me know if you go ( or been) and what you think. Would love some feedback. Happy travels.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Visitor Information
4750 WEST 16TH STREET INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46222
9 AM-5 PM MAR-OCT
10 AM-4 PM NOV-FEB
Parking is available at the Museum and is free of charge during days that the track is not in use for a race or other public event. During races and certain other events, Museum guests may need to park outside of the track and walk in.
During on-track days this May, visitors should park in open IMS parking lots and use the Pagoda Plaza shuttles to access the Museum.
The entrance to the Museum is located at Gate 2 on the north side of 16th Street. This is marked by a black banner on the west side of the entrance.
The Museum strives to make its buildings, collections, programs and services accessible to all visitors. Companions or aides of persons with disabilities are admitted free of charge. Museum ADA services include:
Free, accessible parking to the south and west of the Museum building, with appropriate curb cuts and ramps to facilitate entry into the building.
Wheelchair accessible tour buses.
Service animals are welcome.
Museum Hosts can lead guests with severe vision impairments through a special touch tour of select vehicles in their collection.
For guests with hearing impairments, they have printed texts of the narration of the bus tours of the track.
American Sign Language interpretation is available upon request with a minimum of 48 hours’ notice.
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2 thoughts on “Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Where Tradition Never Stops”
Wow your description made it sound like I was right there with you! My daughter and son-in-law live in Lafayette Indiana and have gone a few times, they enjoyed it!