It was May 2015, and we received free tickets to the Indianapolis Grand Prix from my husband’s work. We did not know a thing about Indycar or racing in general. We never watched NASCAR or other racing events. In fact, we had to go to the Grand Prix because my husband was hosting a client for work. The racecar drivers were announced one at a time, and we decided to each pick a driver for fun. My husband picked quickly. I had no idea who to pick, so I picked the last driver announced: Will Power.
The drivers were ready to start, and it drew us in almost immediately with the sound of the engines warming up. Red, yellow, and green lights flash then the flag waves to start the race. The cars go by lap by lap in a flash, and we are glued to every moment. The driver I picked won the race! It was only later that we learned the drivers are announced in order of the back of the pack to the front, so coincidentally, I picked the driver that was in the best position to win. We then continued to follow Indycar closer. We attended the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016, and we have attended multiple other races since. Will Power remains my favorite driver, and I had the chance to meet him in May 2018, a week before he won the Indianapolis 500. I may or may not credit myself with being his good luck charm. We are in an Indycar fantasy league with friends. We are as hooked as hooked can be. When you are at the racetrack, it’s not only the sound of the racecars, but it’s the feeling. The adrenaline is contagious. If you had asked us before May 2015 if we would become race fans, we would have laughed. However, there is something so special about Indycar, especially living in Indianapolis.
The month of May in Indianapolis is all about Indycar. Indianapolis hosts two races in May: the Indianapolis Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. The Grand Prix is called a road course, and the 500 is an oval course. Both are run at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Since Indianapolis hosts two races in one month, the city holds many events leading to the Indianapolis 500. The events range from family-friendly to adult-only. Even if you don’t make it to the races or even watch them, the events during the month are a great time. One of the most well-known events is the Indy Mini. The Indy Mini is the largest half marathon in the country. My husband has run the Indy Mini four times, and I have run it once (once was enough for me). A very special part of this race is the portion you run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track. It is a tradition for people to stop and “kiss the bricks” on the track. I recommend taking the extra minute and participating in this long-standing tradition if you have the opportunity.
Indianapolis is full of racing history. In fact, Indianapolis is considered the racing capital of the world. You may be like I was before 2015 and say, I’m not a race fan. That’s ok! However, I encourage you to let yourself get to know why May is so special in Indianapolis. Attend a few community events in May, and maybe consider attending a race. I would recommend the Grand Prix as your first race because it is not as busy and a much shorter day than the Indianapolis 500. I would consider the Grand Prix more family-friendly for these same reasons. For the 500, there are great events at the track leading up to the race, including concerts and preliminary races.
The month of May in Indianapolis is magic. It is wonderful, exciting, and nostalgic. Embracing Indycar and what it means to Indianapolis has helped us fall deeper in love with our city. Indycar is historic but also new every year at the same time. I am getting excited just thinking about May being here again. Our Indianapolis Motor Speedway flag will proudly fly in our front yard, and we will hear the famous words at the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500, “Drivers, start your engines!”