This week’s NASCAR race takes place at another of the world’s great racetracks, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And if you’re going to a legendary track, we want you to have a legendary time. Here are our five Fast Facts to know before you tailgate at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
1. Tailgating is not permitted in every lot
IMS has a specific handful of lots in which it allows race fans to tailgate, so make sure you’re in the right place before you start setting up. Tailgaters are welcome in the daily parking areas of Lot 1B (note the B), Lot 2, Lot 3 (grass area), Lot 7 (in the North 40), and inside of Turn 3. You can see where each of these lots are with the venue’s handy parking map.
Parking prices also differ among various location, so once you choose your preferred lot, head on over to the permit page to get a price and purchase your tailgating spot online.
2. Bring your portable shelters
Indianapolis encourages the use of portable shelters (those handy things you use to block the sun), with certain guidelines. The shelter must be 10 feet by 10 feet or smaller, secured to your vehicle and set up behind that vehicle; not taking up another parking space or impeding any pedestrian area.
If you’re in Lot 1B, 2 or the grass area of Lot 3, you must also take down the shelter before the start of the race. But most tailgaters will have probably packed up well before then anyway. No one wants to miss the green flag, right?
3. Grill away, but don’t get carried away
Grilling is permitted at Indianapolis, but only on smaller portable grills; so don’t plan for a massive barbecue this week. You’re also not permitted to dump charcoal or ashes anywhere on track property, so it’s best to keep your grilling plan to something that’s manageable in terms of both size and clean-up.
4. Know the slightly different gate policies
Indianapolis’s rules of what you can and cannot bring inside the gates vary from those of most NASCAR tracks. For tailgaters, the most important change is that the permitted cooler size is 18 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches, but they can be either hard or soft sided. This means that you can pack in all your tailgate leftovers — both food and beverages are permitted — though you still can’t bring any glass containers.
5. Be aware of pointy objects
Another major difference between Indianapolis and other tracks is that IMS allows into the track several objects that other venues don’t, including umbrellas, camera tripods, monopods and other stands. On one hand, this may be beneficial to you if you want to snap some particularly good shots on race day. On the other, watch out for all this extra equipment as you’re moving around the track. You wouldn’t want to get hit by something and drop your food!
The Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard takes place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Sunday, July 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET.