Today marks 100 days until the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Oil and a series of events is celebrating that milestone, kicking off last night with the Midnight on the Bricks community gathering at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The countdown last evening saw a great turnout of close to 2,000 attendees and provided a nice opportunity for fans, media members, and drivers to mingle in a casual atmosphere. The 100th Running show car was on site for photos, Conor Daly signed autographs and spoke briefly to the crowd about his full-time ride with Dale Coyne racing in 2016 and tours of the pagoda and victory circle gave fans insight and access that many of them had not experienced prior.
Doug Boles, President of IMS, was on hand as well – he helped with the unveiling of the 2016 Indianapolis 500 ticket, depicting the excitement of Juan Pablo Montoya after his second 500 win this past May. I had a moment to catch up with Doug, and he had some exciting information about this year’s ticket, a surprise for fans, and his anticipation of this year’s race:
“The Indy 500 ticket is printed on clear plastic this year. We wanted to do something different, but at the same time we wanted it to feel like the ticket that people are used to having. There’s another piece that’s going to be special that we haven’t announced yet, but everyone will have to wait until they get their blue envelopes to find out! The biggest reason we unveiled it now, is because we really need people to order by the first or second week in March, to make sure they get one.”
So you heard it here – do not delay your Indianapolis 500 ticket orders if you want to have one of the limited edition clear plastic keepsake tickets. You can go to ims.com to purchase them today!
One of the other nice features of last night’s event, was the opportunity to purchase said tickets right on site. A friend of mine found his way over to the ticket table and got his order in almost immediately after finding out about the clear keepsake edition, so kudos to IMS for having that purchase option on site. The woman running the sales mentioned that the ticket sales overall for the 100th running have been extremely impressive already. When I asked Doug what the odds are of selling out the grandstands, he admitted the feat of having all 235,000 seats filled is not an easy one, but he does think they will be very close to hitting that mark. They expect attendance numbers to be around 300k – keeping in mind that a good chunk of those are infield general admission and snake pit participants. (I call them participants because the snake pit, in case you weren’t aware, is absolutely an experience that one has to knowingly commit to. It is definitely aimed at the college-aged demographic and not for the faint of heart!)
When asked if the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis has seen a spike in their ticket sales, because of the excitement around this particular month of May, Doug mentioned that the ticket sales for that event are flat in comparison to the first two runnings, but fans can expect to see amped up promotions for the 3rd annual road course event in the next week or so. Remember that customers with tickets to one of the May races at IMS receive a discount on their purchase of the other race. Take advantage of that because hey, admit it, you know you want to be here for both!
As the night raced on towards midnight, everyone made their way out of the warm, music-filled pavilion to the Yard of Bricks. Some group pictures were taken right along the start finish line, Doug Boles addressed the crowd from the top of Victory Circle and the pylon started counting down to the 100 day mark at 11:59pm. The entire crowd counted aloud starting at 10 seconds, giving that New Year’s Eve level excitement to the moment. Hooting, hollering, and the occasional fist pump welcomed midnight and start of yet another countdown. We are now 100 days away from the 100th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing… and 100 days away from once-in-a-lifetime memories. Are you ready to witness history this Memorial Day weekend? Me too. I’ll see you at the track.
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