SPEEDWAY — On Sunday, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway becomes Indiana's second-largest city, with an expected crowd of 300,000.
For race fans, a little planning makes for a smoother day.
At a news conference Thursday, the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the track's medical director offered important spectator tips.
IMS President Doug Boles stressed the need to arrive at the track early, no later than 10:30 a.m. for the 12:45 p.m. race.
"One of the challenges that we have and one of the biggest responsibilities we have is to make sure that our customers are safe, and as we bring people into the gates, we will be diligent in the way we are checking bags and coolers and other items," Boles said.
Here is what race fans need to know about Sunday's mega event:
5 a.m. Parking lots open
6 a.m. Speedway gates open
7 a.m. Snakepit concerts begin
8 a.m. Pre-race events begin on track with Parade of Bands
9:30 a.m. Celebrity red carpet at Pagoda Plaza
11 a.m. Indianapolis 500 winning drivers laps
11:26 a.m. Mario Andretti car lap
12:01 p.m. Introduction of drivers
12:23 p.m. God Bless America
12:26 p.m. National Anthem followed by flyover
12:36 p.m. Back Home Again in Indiana
12:38 p.m. Drivers Start Your Engines!
12:45 p.m. Start of race
Parking inside the track is sold out as are official speedway parking lots outside the track.
Street parking in the residential areas near IMS in the Town of Speedway is generally prohibited on race day and there are street signs to let you know.
Many Town of Speedway residents offer paid parking on their lawns and driveways.
Don't expect to get out of parking lots quickly after the race.
"If you are parked in the speedway or one of those lots adjacent to the speedway, you can expect a 45-minute to one hour delay before we start emptying those to make sure that customers who are walking are safe," Boles said.
GETTING INTO THE TRACK:
Boles says the main IMS gate at West 16th Street and Georgetown Road can get very congested.
Race fans sitting north of A Stand are urged to continue walking up Georgetown Road and enter the speedway at one of the gates on Georgetown.
Coolers with food and beverages are allowed inside the track, but can be no larger than 18"x14"x14" and cannot contain glass containers.
Umbrellas are allowed on race day, but carts and wagons are not.
Drones are not allowed inside or near the track.
STAYING SAFE AND HEALTHY:
With 300,000 fans inside on race day, IMS has the population of a mid-sized city and a medical staff is on hand to deal with whatever comes up.
"We have the resources to take care of anybody who might become ill or injured while they are on property." said Dr. Geoffrey Billows, IMS Director of Medical Services.
Twelve doctors, including three surgeons, staff the Infield Care Center and a smaller facility in the third turn near the Snake Pit.
Billows says there are 15 nurses and more than 120 paramedics on site, along with up to 20 ambulances for spectators and six for drivers.
Staying hydrated, Billows said, is very important.
Police also want to remind be to report anything they feel is suspicious to police.
Tickets to the 500 and to the Snake Pit remain on sale.
President Boles says the Snake Pit area has been expanded, allowing for greater attendance.
Last year, about 30,000 people were in the Snake Pit where the music starts at 7 a.m.
"The Snake Pit in a lot of ways is the best marketing tool that we have at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to attract the young adult under the age of 30," Boles said.
Ticket and additional race information is available on the IMS website: www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com
Here's the starting line up from Indy Car:
As of Saturday evening, there is a chance for scatter thunderstorms and highs are foretasted to be in the 80s.
You can view the latest forecast here.
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