We don’t have to go anywhere to be involved in the Indianapolis 500, or any other race held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You see, we live right next door to the track, directly across the street from the East gate to the North 40 parking area. If there are 300,000 fans attending the race, easily 50,000 go through this gate and right by our house. We’re involved whether we want to be or not.
I’ve not shot the actual race since 2009. The event has changed a great deal but as fussy as I am I don’t see anyone giving me a press pass anytime soon. I don’t like anyone telling me no and that tends to happen a lot around IMS. They’re afraid of their own shadow over there. People might discover there are a lot of smoke and mirrors, rather like Oz, but less green.
Fortunately, I don’t have to put up with that mess to be entertained. All one has to do is watch the people as they go by. Some are pretty. Some are crazy. Some had far too much to drink. And several are lost when they come back after the race.
The gallery below is a handful of the snapshots we took before and after this year’s event. You’ll want to especially look or the woman with a traffic cone on her head, the man pretending to be an airplane, multiple people dancing, and the old man letting someone else carry his walker for him.
Pay special attention to the people in motorized wheelchairs. I have the greatest admiration for these people. They come alone. None of them ever have anyone with them to provide assistance. They park more than a mile away from the nearest gate. The wheelchairs move slowly and at times have difficulty navigating the soft places in the North 40. Yet, here they are, year after year, making their way to the race. Talk about die-hard fans!
People are fun to watch. Clothing choice is sometimes interesting. Children are always interesting (especially after the race). And one never knows what drunk people are going to do next.
What was better this year was the trash left across the North 40. Previous years, it was nearly impossible to walk across the lot without stepping on or over someone’s waste. This year, for the most part, everyone bagged up their own shit. Why they don’t go ahead and take the bags with them is still a mystery. Why they leave awning and chairs and inflatable pools is baffling. Yet, there they are. And this is nothing to the dump that the Snake Pit becomes.
There are a LOT of pictures here, so click on a thumbnail to view the full gallery. And if you see someone you recognize, be sure to let them know!