Newbies Unofficial Guide To Indy 500 Traffic
THIS BLOG WILL BE UPDATED REGULARLY. BE SURE TO CHECK BACK!
The Indianapolis 500 is the biggest of the big.
Want a top tier country outfit? How about partying with the Zach Brown Band. Are you part of the under thirty crowd that runs pantless through the Snake Pit? Hey, no judgement here - enjoy your house music.
It's the racing, the tradition, back home again, the invocation, the opening cannon, kissing the yard of bricks, family and friends, and those who love every second of the magical month of May.
Well, it’s here, and welcome to your nirvana.
Since the “revival” of the Indianapolis 500 via the 100th running, it’s safe to say we have a whole new generation of race fans heading for the track. So let's get you there, safe and sound, fully reved and ready to go.
Here’s a little write up on how to use travel mechanisms like ride sharing services, not to mention tips on how to get to the track with minimal road rage.
And check back here frequently. We’re still waiting for certain ramp and road closures to be made public. As soon as we know, we’ll have ‘em in this Traffic Blog.
STREETS CLOSED IN SPEEDWAY, IN
UBER/LYFT = SAFE
You’re not going to believe this, but sometimes we party too hard during the race. When I was in high school, fans were bonging beer in the infield at turn three. I was like “whoa.” Then I tried it myself in college, and man, it gets you faced quickly - even when you're not in ninety degree heat.
Point being, ride sharing has refined itself, and could be a great way to keep you and your buddies safe after a day of racing. Grab an Uber or LYFT, chill in traffic, do some people watching, and maybe you’ll catch some PDA - adult version.
The dropoff - pickup lot is at Main St. and Gilman St. Here:
- Make sure your apps are up to date before heading to the race.
- To find the lot after the race, exit the Speedway and follow the signage.
- You will only be able to request a ride once you have exited the Speedway.
- Once you have requested your ride, you can meet your driver at the dedicated zone.
On raceday, you can catch a shuttle fullly equiped with air conditioning that'll take you from Indianapolis International Airport to the track. Dropoff and pickup point is the Main Gate parking lot on W. 16th St. near get two.
Shuttle service runs from 7am until noon, and two hours after the end of the race. For more information, visit ParkMobile.io.
Every weekend until August parts of northbound I-65 from Southport Rd. to the north split will CLOSE for maintenance. This could cause major ugliness for south side drivers trying to make it to the track on time.
So you can get a better understanding of the severity of these closures, here's what happened Friday morning the weekend of May 10th:
Umm yeah. Later that night, northbound I-65 closed from the south split to the north split, and multiple lanes closed from Southport Rd. to I-465.
Problem. The closures may not be released until the week of the race. When they're public, we'll have them right here.
Some of our local Indy 500 lovers were kind enough to share their preferred routes to Speedway. Please keep in mind that these routes could become problematic due to road closures, ramp closures, or interstate closures (see above).
With that, here we go.
LEBANON TO THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
There are so many family memories made at the Indianapolis 500, and it's no surprise that Kurt Darling - WIBC reporter and anchor - offers his “Dad’s route” for northwest siders and Boone County residents:
We used to go to qualifications a lot, and we attended a few 500s. Good memories. The racing is fantastic, and (walking into the speedway) is like walking into Hinkle Fieldhouse - you get to just feel it.
And it’s fun to pee in the trough.
For First timers, don’t drive all the way down Georgetown Rd, because you can’t, you have to turn around! And just be patient when leaving.
ZIONSVILLE TO THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
The Hammer and Nigel Show - heard weekdays on 93 WIBC from 4pm - 7pm - is the most listened to afternoon drive radio show in Indianapolis. If you haven't, check it out. It's like a bunch of people sitting around a bar and yapping about politics and life - and man is it funny.
I’m usually coming from the northwest side, so I’ll hop on High School Road from W. 56th St., then head south towards Speedway. I'll turn off on 25th street right before Crawfordsville Rd. and head towards the track.
BROAD RIPPLE TO THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
Tony Donahue - Indianapolis 500 aficionado and producer of the brand new "Jeff and Big Joe Show" on 1070 "the Fan" - will join Sunday morning's race day simulcast to add his racing expertise.
**Programming note: the simulcast can be heard on 93 WIBC and 1070 from 6am - 11am.
Tony has been to a whopping 26 straight - THAT'S 26 STRAIGHT - Indianapolis 500s. Yeah, he knows a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to race day, including getting you to the track from Broad Ripple:
Race day, I typically leave my place at 6:45am, but still get stuck in traffic. However, it still leaves plenty of time (to get to the track). Plus, the people watching is certainly worth it - just don’t rear end the car in front of you!
From Broad Ripple, best route for me on race day to the speedway is 38th Street to Cold Spring Rd. (It takes you) around Marian University, then take take (Cold Spring) south to 30th, then over to the speedway.
I believe on race day, avoiding 10th street is best because they close it down and use it for the “police escort “ route.
For parking on race day, the "north lot 40" is a good option, but it does fill up. A great backup is to park in someone's yard. Look for the houses with Indy 500 banners or flags, and for $25 dollars you can pull up and park in someone's yard.
Keep in mind, after the race all routes out of Speedway lead you to I-465 or I-70.
Race day is amazing, just get there early and take everything in. It’s a long day, but hopefully you have Monday off to rest. It’s Christmas Day for race fans all over the globe, and I'm looking forward to my 25th straight 500!
KNIGHTSTOWN TO THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
As if you didn't know, Terri Stacy is a broadcasting legend at 93 WIBC, and if it's May, you'll find Terri at the Speedway. She'll also be part of our race day broadcast as a roving reporter, because NO ONE knows the track better than this born and bred Hoosier gal.
And if you're coming in from Hancock/Henry Co., Terri knows how to take you to the track.
(If you aren't parking inside the track), go West on Washington St. to White River Parkway North. Turn west on 10th to Polco St, then north on Polco, to 16th - which is just past the 16th St. entrance into the track. (The route) allows you to bypass the heavy traffic on 16th.
If you are parking inside the track, use the same route - except take Tibbs or Holt north. (Holt becomes Olin), then continue north off of 10th St. to 16th Street.
I’ve loved the Indy 500 since I was a kid listening with my family to the race on WIBC. When I got older, I worked as a hostess each year in Suites or in the Media Center just to be close to it all! Being a part of the WIBC pre-race Broadcast Team for over 25 yrs. has brought me opportunities I never could have imagined as a kid. The Indy 500 to me is about memories, history, tradition, a bit of a family reunion seeing the same familiar faces at every turn. And on the morning of the race, I ALWAYS feel a great deal of Hoosier pride.
GREENWOOD TO THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
With John "Big Boi" Herrick - WIBC News
93 WIBC news anchor and reporter John Herrick will also be chatting up race fans during the race day simulcast on 93 WIBC and 1070 "the fan." A longtime fan of the 500, the DePauw University is excited to return to the Speedway for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.
John has the "heads up" on getting south siders to the track on time. He has two routes for Greenwood folk, starting with the "easy route" that avoids unnecessary changes in interstates. Remember, that's the "easy route" as long as northbound I-65 isn't closed!:
John's "Parking Route" is a direct shot to good parking, but requires a merge on to westbound I-70.
FROM SPEEDWAY TO THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
(Photo Credit: Brandon Terrone)
Brandon Terrone has been a lifelong friend of @WIBCTraffic and eats and breathes the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We both left northern Indiana years ago - I rented a tiny downtown apartment, he bought a house just a minutes walk from the track. Anytime I'm heading in that direction, I go to him. And if you see Brandon at the race, say "hi" and drink a beer with him. As you can tell by the picture, he's easy to spot.
I can’t stress enough that the earlier you get, the better. IMS has a decent amount of parking, but it fills up quick.
The best way - I think to get there - is from the north west. The biggest lot for parking is off 30th St. It’s called the "North 40" (see above, Tony Donohue's Broad Ripple map). There are some more lots off of Georgetown Rd., also. Don’t forget that most adjacent neighborhoods have people parking in lawns and backyards, but again, the earlier you get there, the better chance you have of getting a decent parking spot.
Also, IMS does an excellent job of having helpful people all around, usually in yellow shirts. They are very helpful and knowledgeable, and a lot of them have been volunteering for 40-50 years man, no joke. They also have people that walk around with shirts and banners that say “ask me.”
This is fun stuff.
You know the drill - traffic "on the 5's" the morning of the race. If anything goes wonky - from crashes to last minute closures - we'll air 'em out and post updates @WIBCTraffic. Tweet out your tips or call (317) 684-8134. It would be very much appreciated.
Until then, please be safe.
Matt Bair is the new voice of Indianapolis traffic, and can be followed on Twitter @WIBCTraffic. Tips? Call direct at (317) 684-8134 or the 93 WIBC Newsroom at (317) 637-6397.