I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party. —Ron White
This is no ordinary race week. This is no ordinary race. The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 brings more people to Indianapolis than any other event, ever, and in many places across town, the party has already started! Whether you’re at the Coke Lot or one of the events at Pan Am Plaza downtown, or right here in our backyard at the North 40, everyone has one primary goal: To have a good time.
Unfortunately, there are always some people who go a bit too far. I woke this morning to a headline reading, “Man Shot Several Times At Speedway Strip Club.” That’s not the kind of partying anyone needs. Last year, some brilliant jackass thought it would be cool to burn down a whole line of portable toilets in the Coke Lot. That’s exactly the kind of nonsense that ruins the event for everyone. If you’re going to party, ya’ gotta follow the rules.
The party starts well before the race, of course. We’re expecting a larger-than-ever turnout for Carb Day tomorrow. The big draw is the Journey concert at 3:30 PM and I’m expecting to be able to take the dog out, sit in the yard, and hear the whole thing just fine. Fellow-Okie Blake Shelton is here Saturday afternoon, and we’ll probably have a decent turnout for that as well. Then, for better or worse, there’s Saturday night at the Coke Lot. One the party starts, it doesn’t stop until well after Sunday’s race is over.
Before you head our direction, though, there are some things you should know, even if you’ve been here every year for your entire life. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) has updated their policies as to what will and will not be allowed through the gate. IMS also announced yesterday that there will be more security at this race than ever before. Those of us who live in the neighborhood are very happy to know that federal agencies are lending a hand in keeping everyone safe. With some 300,000-plus people on hand, the race is a prime target for those desperate for attention.
Some of the things you can expect to be different this year are:
- An increase in security checkpoints, especially the day of the race.
- An increase in the use of special K-9 units. You’re not sneaking anything past these dogs. We suggest you not try.
- More vehicle searches as you’re entering the grounds. Anything suspicious will be considered reasonable cause.
- ESG Security is searching bags and coolers, not IMS Yellow Shirts. Yellow Shirts are being utilized to help people get where they’re going more efficiently.
- IMPD is scanning vehicle license plates as they enter the grounds. They say they’re looking for stolen vehicles, but we suspect there’s more to it than that.
If you’re just coming in for one of the concerts, there are some special rules you should probably know as well:
- No selfie sticks
- No drones
- No stickers (not kidding!)
- No professional cameras (another reason for me to stay home)
- No lasers
This size of the crowd this year likely means that the party is going to be larger than ever in the neighborhoods surrounding IMS as well. As Kat was coming home yesterday she noticed that prices for lawn parking are higher this year for those North of 30th street. I’m sure she’ll be talking with our neighbors about raising our pricing as well. I know we’re limiting the amount of lawn we give to parking this year.
Thousands of party people park in our neighborhood for these events and enter through the East gate of the North 40, directly across the street from our house. We don’t mind too terribly much, partly because you’re paying for the privilege. Still, if you’re going to park off-site and walk into IMS, there are some additional things you should know:
- Traffic is going to suck worse than ever. Everything is sold out for Sunday, which means somewhere around 150,000 more people trying to get in than last year. Georgetown, Lafayette, and 30th street are going to be a nightmare starting around 3:00 AM. Plan accordingly.
- No one in the neighborhood really likes being awakened at 3 AM, even if you’re giving us money. Please, keep the noise down at least until the sun is up.
- SLOW THE FUCK DOWN! Every year, we see too many redneck sons of bitches who apparently think they can secure a last-minute driving spot by showing how fast they can maneuver residential streets. Don’t be that jackass. Someone’s likely to get hurt.
- Watch out for children. One of the great things about our neighborhood is that we’ve seen an influx of families with children over the past 12 months. There are little ones running all over the place, which is very different from previous years. Many of them are small enough to not be seen easily and when things get hectic, as race day always does, keeping an eye on everyone is challenging. Keep an eye out, please.
- Speaking of children, please be careful about what you feed them. The guests we have parking in our yard are always generous about sharing their food with our children who are always hungry. I’m sure others are the same. However, as their parents, we would be most appreciative if you didn’t give them whole bags of Hostess donuts and other such sugar-filled treats. Our children aren’t accustomed to that much processed sugar and it makes them rather crazy. Get them hopped up and we may well send them with you.
- Don’t ask to use our restroom. You’re welcome to our lawn, not inside our houses. Some of our neighbors have rented portable toilets for the event for your use, including some right outside the East gate. Bring ones, though. Those potties aren’t free.
- Watch where you park. Certain sides of the street are off limits (there are signs). The right-of-way between the sidewalk and the street is also off limits. Park there and you WILL be towed. We have a neighborhood busybody (not me this time) who is quick to call police when she sees a parking infraction. You don’t want to have to walk home.
- Exit quickly. We’re pretty much trapped here all weekend. We know that and have prepared accordingly. However, by Sunday evening, we have cabin fever and need to get out, if for no other reason than to buy more toilet paper. We can’t do that until everyone’s gone. Please, don’t lag or dilly-daddle. IMPD does their best to get everyone on their way and out of the neighborhood within two hours after the race. Don’t be that straggler whose vehicle is still on our lawn at 9PM Sunday night.
I know that’s a lot to take in, but if we’re all going to party together there have to be some ground rules. We don’t want anyone getting hurt or running afoul of the law. Have a good time, enjoy the concerts and the race, and if you’re going through the East gate of the North 40, drop by and say hi!
Party on, Garth!