As we approach this year’s running of the Indianapolis 500, let’s take a minute to talk about just how ridiculous this place and its flagship event are with some crazy IMS/Indy 500 facts. (Framed by our very own pictures from the 2014 Indianapolis 500’s Carb Day)
When it comes to impressive places and incredible events, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 are at the top of the list. For those of you have been to the 500 or at least toured the facility, you know just how remarkable this place is. Of all the places we’ve been, Indianapolis Motor Speedway continues to be one of Two Lane America’s favorite places on this planet. The history… The speed… The enormity of the place… It’s just awesome.
This place is huge. You already knew that. Did you know it’s so freaking big that Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Colosseum, and Vatican City could all fit inside the IMS oval?
With roughly 250,000 permanent seats, IMS is considered the world’s largest “stadium,” and if you were to lay those seat boards end-to-end they’d cover darn near 100 miles.
Sorry cows and pigs, but race day isn’t a good one for you. Each year fans scarf down 10,000 pounds of hamburger meat, and if all the dogs and brats were placed bun to bun they’d make 3 laps around the famous oval.
Of course, where there’s concessions, there’s condiments. By the end of the Indianapolis 500, fans will have used nearly 500 gallons of ketchup, enough to take 10 baths of nothing but sweet, sugary tomato paste.
Not even counting the Coca-Cola parking lot the night and morning before the race (which I’m sure would be a staggering amount), an estimated 14,000 gallons of beer is sucked down over the course of race Sunday.
IMS is home of many safety firsts like the first use of a pace car, the mandatory use of helmets, colored warning lights, and crash-data recorders.
Speaking of safety, it should be noted that drinking alcohol WHILE racing wasn’t banned until 1914, 3 years after the inaugural 500.
IMS is a historic national treasure- older than other sports landmarks like Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and the Rose Bowl. In fact, only 4 sporting venues are older: Old St. Andrews, Saratoga Race Course, Churchill Downs, and All-England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.
Only 3 carmakers of the 23 from the very first Indy 500 are still in business: Buick, Fiat, and Mercedes.
Below: Pictures from the 2014 Pit Stop Challenge
Wonder why the winner drinks milk? In 1936, Louis Meyer wins his 3rd Indy 500, a remarkable feat, and, as he often did after a race, refreshed himself with a glass of buttermilk. The tradition stuck, and today, although not buttermilk, drivers still dream of sucking down some victory circle milk.
A lot has changed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the years, and, Lord knows, the cars have changed dramatically, but some things stay the same… Every year, on the Sunday before Memorial Day, 33 brave men and women will test their machines, their skills, and their nerves as millions both in person and at home on their TVs and radios cheer them on. This year, you’ll just know a little more than most of the other fans…
Cover Photo: Flickr