Qualifying weekend for the Indianapolis 500 is when you put the finishing touches on your list, but instead of discussing with friends how to best rank your toy requests for highest probability of receipt, you talk to your fellow fanatics and decide on your fantasy picks now that the field of 33 is set. And instead of visiting Santa Claus at his makeshift workshop in the local shopping mall, you have a chat with Indianapolis Motor Speedway President, Doug Boles, in Pagoda Plaza… which yields a sort of magic in it’s own sense.
Carb Day comes around, which is symbolic of the greatest office party one could imagine – music, camaraderie, and spirits that your boss (more than likely) would frown upon you consuming. Personally, I’ve never participated in Carb Day in that sense, but I know it’s how many celebrate and who am I to judge?
Legend’s Day rolls around and it presents the same excitement and final anxiety as Christmas Eve. You start the day gathering your thoughts, preparing for tomorrow’s festivities and looking back on the year that was as well as nostalgic memories you hold dear of Chrsitmas’ gone by. Similarly, we all gather one last time at the track on Saturday with eager anticipation of what Sunday will hold, we celebrate the past year’s 500 by distributing ornamental items of celebration to the defending champion and his team owner. We listen intently to the stories of drivers like Mario Andretti and Parnelli Jones, appreciating their experience and feeling grateful that they share it all with those of us who participate as observers.
We go home and prepare for the morning. But rather than setting out cookies and milk, we set our lanyard on the bedside table, because it holds the Indianapolis 500 ticket that we will wear around our neck as soon as we wake up, displaying it as proudly as an Olympian showcases their winning medal. We may have paid for our gear, but beyond the shadow of a doubt, it feels like we’ve won.
Then we try to sleep. We know how much energy we will need on the holiday itself. We will be flooded by multiple emotions, a guaranteed rollercoaster of feelings for hours. We have no idea what the day will hold… will our hopes be fulfilled? And in the midst of our minds running a muck, we somehow drift off to rest and dream of engines revving, checkered flags flying, and our memories provide the sweet sound of Jim Nabors crooning about being back home again…
The alarm goes off and we head down to the Speedway, filled with the same wonder and utterly excited nature as we did when we barreled down the stairs to search for our treasures under the tree as a child…
Well guess what? The lines between the Indianapolis 500/IMS/Month of May and Christmas, are getting blurred even further this year. In November and December, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will premiere “Lights at the Brickyard”, a seasonal event that includes more than 400 light displays inside the track. The lights will be experienced from your car, along a 1.7 mile route. And yes, the route will indeed include driving over the iconic Yard of Bricks on the frontstretch. So let me know if you want to pick up some hot chocolate and carpool over to the cathedral of speed this winter, because I promise I’ll be making a visit to what is sure to be a snow-covered Midwest Wonderland…
The full release from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is listed below:
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 25, 2016 – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will bring new levels of cheer to this holiday season with a spectacular “Lights at the Brickyard” seasonal event. Attendees will experience more than 40 scenes filled with 400 light displays along a 1.7-mile driving experience, which includes crossing the famous “Yard of Bricks” at IMS.
“‘Lights at the Brickyard’ is going to be a fantastic holiday event that becomes a tradition for families from near and far,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles. “We’re always looking for new ways to engage with the community year-round and this event is a perfect fit. This extravaganza will be a truly unique experience during the holiday season, combining world class lighting installations with a world-class driving experience through portions of our iconic racetrack.”
In addition to the Lights at the Brickyard driving experience, other out-of-car holiday festivities and attractions will be offered for families to complete their adventure at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Dates are subject to change, but the event is tentatively scheduled to run from Nov. 18-Dec. 31. Exhibits will include festive holiday celebrations as well as racing-themed installations throughout the iconic venue.
IMS has partnered with Winterland Inc., an international leader in holiday light installations and events to deliver the thrilling experience.
“Winterland Inc. is a world leader in holiday festivities and it is a pleasure to partner with the ‘Racing Capital of the World’ to celebrate the holiday season in a truly unique setting,” said Winterland Inc. President R. David Fred.
Early-bird tickets will start at just $20 per car and will be available at a later date onwww.IMS.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office. A $40 early-bird pass will provide expedited passage into the event. Prices will eventually increase to $30 and $60 for each.
The feature photo collage was created from photos property of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.