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  • Published: Mar 29th, 2011
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Things To Do During the Indy 500 Race Season

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INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 24:  Danica Patrick, driver...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The Indianapolis 500-Mile race takes place every year during Memorial Day weekend in Speedway, Indiana. Thousands upon thousands of people show up to experience the joys of car racing at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing in the world. The year 2011 is a special year for the Indy 500 – it’s their 100th anniversary.

Allison Transmission Balloon Festival

In addition to the main race on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the weeks beforehand are filled with events and activities. Many of these events are sponsored by the Indy 500 itself. The fun starts on Saturday, May 7th with the Allison Transmission Balloon Festival. This festival, which was first held in 2009, features 33 hot air balloons that are launched above the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the delight of onlookers. The Emerging Technologies Day occurs on this day as well. At the Emerging Technologies event, many innovative renewable technologies for the auto industry will be on display.

Fast Cars = Fun Times

On Friday May 13th and Saturday May 14th, Indy 500 marks its 100th anniversary with a celebration of automobiles. 250 contestants will showcase their classic cars as they compete for blue-ribbon awards. There are several open practice days where you can watch hopeful drivers practice in an attempt to win a spot in the race. On May 21st and May 22nd you can watch the thirty three competitors being selected. Then there’s the Firestone Freedom 100, held the Friday before the Indy 500. You can buy tickets to watch both the practice and the actual race. By May 28th, things really start to heat up as it is the day before the Indy 500 race. You can watch the pre-race meeting, get autographs from current and past drivers and check out the memorabilia show. The official race begins on May 29th at noon.

Non-Sponsored Events

The above mentioned events are all officially sponsored by the Indy 500. There are several other events sponsored by others going on during this period of time as well. For example, on the first Saturday in May is the Indiana Life 500 Mini Marathon, where 25,000 people run in the largest half marathon in the entire country. During this 13.1 mile run, runners start downtown, go all the way to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and back. There’s the CARA Indy 500 Fashion Show and Luncheon held on the Thursday before the race and the 500 Snakepit Ball, held on the Friday before the race. The Ball is a black tie gala official race event party where race fans and celebrities mingle. On the day before the race is the IPALCO 500 Festival Parade. More than 250,000 people show up to watch the parade, which includes over one hundred floats, bands and qualifying race drivers.

 

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2 Responses to “Things To Do During the Indy 500 Race Season”


  1. Sam F.
    on Apr 7th, 2011
    @ 11:02 am

    I’ve been to the KY Derby multiple times but never the 500. Perhaps this year I’ll do it – seems like it would be a similar experience. I dunno. I’m a little too old for the infield scene, though. 🙂
    Sam F. recently posted..Nikon ProStaff 550 On Sale Under 180!My Profile

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