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Interesting/historic places to visit at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

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  • Interesting/historic places to visit at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

    Hello fellow Nostalgians. Whenever I visit IMS I enjoy taking in its history. In the weeks running up to my first visit I binge on my "Decades" DVD set to get my brain refreshed on some of the things that happened at The Track (just finished The 80s last night), and while walking around I try to visit places where interesting things have happened or where interesting things used to be. I'll often have TOGA playing in my ear and enjoy roaming the grounds while Mr. Davidson regales me with stories from the past.

    Does anyone else have any interesting or historic places they like to visit while at The Track? For example:

    From the Turn 2 Viewing Mounds I'll try to locate where the old pedestrian bridge was and imagine what it would have been like to stand upon it while Roadsters roar below. And of course the old Speedway Motel where Mr. Newman found his lady in bed with another... I also pay my respects to Vuky.

    I always try to visit the creek under the Turn 1 Grandstand and toss a coin in, while picturing it running through the infield and various drivers taking a cooldown lap in its waters.

    Whenever I'm at the south end of the Pit Road Terrace I imagine the celebrations that took place there in the old Victory Lane.

    If I'm on the south end of the track I can't help but picture the old covered Grandstand that used to be there, and Mr. Sullivan's infamous spin.

    Not historic, perse, but I always enjoy exploring the Turn 3 Grandstand area. It's like a different world up there, you feel miles away from everything yet it's all right there in your lap.

    One of my favorite things to do on practice days is to go in the upper level of Turn 1 where I have a grand view of the Facility and pull up old pictures of the Frontstretch and Pagoda on my phone and compare then and now.

    Another place I like to visit is B Stand which is (I believe) the oldest grandstand on the property dating back to the 60s, possibly where my green chair came from. And when you sit there you can really tell, the bleachers and concrete and everything just looks old and weathered and full of memories. I like to sit there during qualifying, there's usually not many people there but I'm surrounded by the ghosts of fans past who came in the hundreds of thousands to watch qualifying.

    Let's hear about some other neat, interesting, or historic places to see while visiting The Racing Capital of the World! It's that time of year again and I could use some new places to visit. Top tip: bicycles are allowed in most days and make exploring The Track a lot easier/quicker.
    Last edited by BrandonW77; 05-08-2019, 02:07 PM.
    If you make something idiot proof, the world will build a better idiot.

  • #2
    I'm always amazed when I check out places that used to have seats. Low, horrible seats that must have been pretty disappointing. Tower Terrace north side, very low. With the introduction of the huge pit carts and antenna poles you couldn't see a thing. How about the folding chairs that used to be right up against the wall on the front stretch? Even before the wall was raised the sightlines had to be pretty limited. My first seats on the outside of the track were B Stand, Row F. I don't think A-C were even used. We were pelted with rubber bits all day. Great spot for viewing the tops of driver's helmets.
    "The track will choose who's going to win."

    Tony Kanaan

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    • #3
      From time to time when I'm walking around, I like to scope out the buildings I know are still the oldest.
      For instance, underneath the Tower Terrace/Media Center, those old offices that were part of the original Tower Terrace (yellow back seats).
      The Backstretch area hasn't changed much...except the Backstretch Bleachers are of course no longer, it's all the grass mounds.
      Walking though the old, original tunnel under turn two. The old carousel scoreboards.

      Doctorindy.com

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      • #4
        Oh yes, there are plenty of bad views, but somehow it never matters because you're still there. I've spent many races as a Turn 2 Viewing Mound spectator, can't be beat for comfort and people watching but you only get to see the cars for about two seconds and it's at the apex of the turn so not much exciting happens.

        Fun fact: I have one of those old green chairs in my billiard room, they sold them off a couple years ago. It's worn down, has some rust spots, and the memories of a thousand farts, but it's one of my most prized pieces of memorabilia.
        If you make something idiot proof, the world will build a better idiot.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post
          From time to time when I'm walking around, I like to scope out the buildings I know are still the oldest.
          For instance, underneath the Tower Terrace/Media Center, those old offices that were part of the original Tower Terrace (yellow back seats).
          The Backstretch area hasn't changed much...except the Backstretch Bleachers are of course no longer, it's all the grass mounds.
          Walking though the old, original tunnel under turn two. The old carousel scoreboards.
          I had no idea those offices under there were that old! Neat! I go through there a lot, great place to hide from the sun/rain and there's often some interesting people (crew/drivers/media) wandering around down there. Sometimes the concession stand under there is the place to get a proper tenderloin, but not always.

          What I wouldn't give to spend a day wandering the track and seeing the sights with DoctorIndy.
          If you make something idiot proof, the world will build a better idiot.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by BrandonW77 View Post
            What I wouldn't give to spend a day wandering the track and seeing the sights with DoctorIndy.
            Years ago, maybe 25 or so, one of the oldtimers told me the "secret location" where they stored old bricks. Bricks that they had dug up from the track while building tunnels, etc.

            I tracked the location down one day. It's a rather remote spot of the property that not a spot that's generally open on a regular practice day. On the door of this nondescript shed was a simple sign. "Stealing from these premises is punishable by law"
            It was locked, but that sign was intriguing. I though, well, he might be right.

            A year or two later I went back over there, and shockingly the door was open! There were no bricks in it.
            Doctorindy.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post

              Years ago, maybe 25 or so, one of the oldtimers told me the "secret location" where they stored old bricks. Bricks that they had dug up from the track while building tunnels, etc.

              I tracked the location down one day. It's a rather remote spot of the property that not a spot that's generally open on a regular practice day. On the door of this nondescript shed was a simple sign. "Stealing from these premises is punishable by law"
              It was locked, but that sign was intriguing. I though, well, he might be right.

              A year or two later I went back over there, and shockingly the door was open! There were no bricks in it.

              Stories about finding original bricks are some of my favorites, and while I'd probably never be brave enough to actually go searching in off-limit places I would love to go find one. One story I heard was from a NASCAR crew chief, I can't recall which one (maybe Tony Stewart's?) but he said that after winning the 400 someone told him there were bricks in the bottom of the pond next to the infield golf course. He decided to check for himself so some of them went over there, he hopped in and started wading around and sure enough found a brick (or so his story goes). The most common location I've heard of is the creek outside of Turn 3, I have no idea if there's any truth to any of the stories but for some reason they fascinate me. I'm going to be eye-balling every nondescript shed this weekend.

              One place I'd love to wander around in, but have never even seen up close, is the old barn outside of Turn 2. That's always been another point of fascination for me. It has to be one of, if not the, oldest buildings on the property, right? And yet most people probably don't even know it's there, just sitting there unassuming amongst the golf course and holding untold stories and memories.
              If you make something idiot proof, the world will build a better idiot.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jp View Post
                I'm always amazed when I check out places that used to have seats. Low, horrible seats that must have been pretty disappointing. Tower Terrace north side, very low. With the introduction of the huge pit carts and antenna poles you couldn't see a thing. How about the folding chairs that used to be right up against the wall on the front stretch? Even before the wall was raised the sightlines had to be pretty limited. My first seats on the outside of the track were B Stand, Row F. I don't think A-C were even used. We were pelted with rubber bits all day. Great spot for viewing the tops of driver's helmets.
                In 1987 we sat in similar seats in A stand. I can't recall the row. We could see some of the pit stops and the top of the helmets, but that was about it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BrandonW77 View Post


                  Stories about finding original bricks are some of my favorites, and while I'd probably never be brave enough to actually go searching in off-limit places I would love to go find one. One story I heard was from a NASCAR crew chief, I can't recall which one (maybe Tony Stewart's?) but he said that after winning the 400 someone told him there were bricks in the bottom of the pond next to the infield golf course. He decided to check for himself so some of them went over there, he hopped in and started wading around and sure enough found a brick (or so his story goes). The most common location I've heard of is the creek outside of Turn 3, I have no idea if there's any truth to any of the stories but for some reason they fascinate me. I'm going to be eye-balling every nondescript shed this weekend.

                  One place I'd love to wander around in, but have never even seen up close, is the old barn outside of Turn 2. That's always been another point of fascination for me. It has to be one of, if not the, oldest buildings on the property, right? And yet most people probably don't even know it's there, just sitting there unassuming amongst the golf course and holding untold stories and memories.
                  The barn that is almost at the railroad tracks just off 16th Street was not part of the original Pressley Farm that became the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The original property was 1/2-mile wide and the eastern edge ran only a few feet east of the back straight. That part of the property was, however, added sometime prior to 1929 when the original golf course was constructed.

                  Early maps from the original 1909 construction in the newspapers of the day do show the house that eventually was Pop Myers's and then became known as the "Mouse House" of Mari George's at the very southeast corner of the original property. I haven't confirmed if that home was in fact built in 1909/1910, but it would likely then be the oldest building from the original land.

                  Neither the barn that still exists today nor the Pop Myer's house are the house and barn that are shown in the photographed called "The Vision." That house sat off the original IMS property, just west of the back patio of Brickyard Crossing restaurant. In fact, if you drove on the driveway to the old Speedway Motel, you would have driven right into that house, except that it was torn down around 1961 or 1962 to make way for the Motel.
                  --Paul Dalbey
                  (the poster formerly known as 'pdalbey')

                  Different men, from vastly different backgrounds, focused on the same goal – a white line painted on a yard of brick 500 miles ahead.

                  http://Fieldof33.com

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Field of 33 View Post

                    The barn that is almost at the railroad tracks just off 16th Street was not part of the original Pressley Farm that became the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The original property was 1/2-mile wide and the eastern edge ran only a few feet east of the back straight. That part of the property was, however, added sometime prior to 1929 when the original golf course was constructed.

                    Early maps from the original 1909 construction in the newspapers of the day do show the house that eventually was Pop Myers's and then became known as the "Mouse House" of Mari George's at the very southeast corner of the original property. I haven't confirmed if that home was in fact built in 1909/1910, but it would likely then be the oldest building from the original land.

                    Neither the barn that still exists today nor the Pop Myer's house are the house and barn that are shown in the photographed called "The Vision." That house sat off the original IMS property, just west of the back patio of Brickyard Crossing restaurant. In fact, if you drove on the driveway to the old Speedway Motel, you would have driven right into that house, except that it was torn down around 1961 or 1962 to make way for the Motel.

                    Interesting. I don't know anything about those buildings, I just know of the big white barn on the golf course. We print the scorecard for them, just did a batch recently and a picture of the barn is on there. Not sure why but I've always thought it was a neat looking building and I've heard/read various rumors about the things it houses.

                    Screen Shot 2019-05-08 at 11.18.21 AM.png
                    If you make something idiot proof, the world will build a better idiot.

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                    • #11
                      Very cool thread! This will be my 37th consecutive 500. I went for the first time when I was 6 - so I can honestly say I don't remember a Memorial Day Weekend back home! This year will be extra special as I'm bringing my son for the first time.

                      The track is so special. It's a fascinating "collection" of the old and the new. It doesn't take much imagination to stand on the spectator mounds in T2 and picture a Miller or a Watson roar past.

                      One special place for us has long been the balcony that overlooks Gasoline Alley. Accessed by the metal steps across from the Gasoline Alley sign - it's a great place to hang out - especially on Friday night. We'll sit up there - lean against the railing - have a few beers.

                      The little grove of trees just behind the T1 stands is always a nice little oasis.

                      We always have a drink at what is now the Brickyard Crossing clubhouse. The Flag Room is definitely missed - but still a great tradition for us.

                      The area behind the Tower Terrace is also a cool place to check out. I think the old track cafeteria was back there.
                      Real drivers don't need fenders!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
                        Very cool thread! This will be my 37th consecutive 500. I went for the first time when I was 6 - so I can honestly say I don't remember a Memorial Day Weekend back home! This year will be extra special as I'm bringing my son for the first time.

                        The track is so special. It's a fascinating "collection" of the old and the new. It doesn't take much imagination to stand on the spectator mounds in T2 and picture a Miller or a Watson roar past.

                        One special place for us has long been the balcony that overlooks Gasoline Alley. Accessed by the metal steps across from the Gasoline Alley sign - it's a great place to hang out - especially on Friday night. We'll sit up there - lean against the railing - have a few beers.

                        The little grove of trees just behind the T1 stands is always a nice little oasis.

                        We always have a drink at what is now the Brickyard Crossing clubhouse. The Flag Room is definitely missed - but still a great tradition for us.

                        The area behind the Tower Terrace is also a cool place to check out. I think the old track cafeteria was back there.

                        I can't imagine how excited you are to bring your son, Joe. He's in for a learning experience, and has a great teacher! Just try not to overload the poor guy. lol

                        I enjoy the Gasoline Alley balcony too, good place to take in a lot of sights and hide from the sun in the afternoon. Same with the tree groves inside Turn 1, it's my go-to place to hide from the sun when I'm down that way. Seems like a lot of my favorite places include areas to hide from the sun. Another good spot for sun-hiding is the row of trees along the SW corner of the museum parking lot. I'll sit there in the shade and watch all the people and cars going by, really great spot.

                        I've actually never been to the Brickyard Crossing. For some reason I always thought it was a "members only" place but I guess anyone can go in there and apparently they have some good food too. I should add that to my list of places to check out this year. Even though I've been going to IMS for 25 years now, last year I made my first visits to Dawson's, Charlie Brown's, and Working Man's Friend, and all were well worth the visit.
                        If you make something idiot proof, the world will build a better idiot.

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                        • #13






                          We wandered into the old white barn back around...1984? 1985? or so. That grass lot used to be known as the Goodyear Lot. The bank of garages used to be used by Goodyear. They also were used by the museum for restorations. The grass lot used to be used for employee parking/camping, as well as the staging area and temporary jail area for the Indiana State Police. In 1992-1993 when they rebuilt the golf course they dumped a huge pile a dirt and tree debris there. It since became an area of overgrowth, and it was never used for parking again. But I think the police still use part of it for staging.

                          Anyway, the barn was old, dark, and at the time, somewhat dilapidated. There was an old V-8 sitting inside, as well as pieces from the old main gate. We'd have been happy to take them off their hands, but they were enormous. After they renovated the barn, that stuff is nowhere to be found.
                          Doctorindy.com

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post






                            We wandered into the old white barn back around...1984? 1985? or so. That grass lot used to be known as the Goodyear Lot. The bank of garages used to be used by Goodyear. They also were used by the museum for restorations. The grass lot used to be used for employee parking/camping, as well as the staging area and temporary jail area for the Indiana State Police. In 1992-1993 when they rebuilt the golf course they dumped a huge pile a dirt and tree debris there. It since became an area of overgrowth, and it was never used for parking again. But I think the police still use part of it for staging.

                            Anyway, the barn was old, dark, and at the time, somewhat dilapidated. There was an old V-8 sitting inside, as well as pieces from the old main gate. We'd have been happy to take them off their hands, but they were enormous. After they renovated the barn, that stuff is nowhere to be found.
                            I recently read your post about seeing the V8 (not an IndyCar engine IIRC) and the old gate pieces at the barn, of course I started thinking how nice those letters would look in my backyard. I think that white building with the Crown Royal sign above it is very near where I park for 500 race day (near the Monon overpass on 16th?). I've probably walked by it dozens of times but didn't know until recently that they did restorations there. Is it still in use for that kind of thing, or any other IMS doings? It would be so cool to go all American Pickers in forgotten corners of the Speedway property to see what kind of treasures and artifacts could be found.
                            If you make something idiot proof, the world will build a better idiot.

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                            • #15
                              You might want to look at old pictures and go to the same location to see how it's changed.

                              For example, I think the turn 1 crossover gate is practically in the same location as it was in 1911. It certainly is when Paul Newman drove out on the track in Winning.
                              And I like to imagine where the original main entrance was. The location of early stands and Georgetown road also holds some interest.
                              I like to walk under the tunnel by the S-F line and try to figure out exactly where the S-F line used to be and how it's moved.

                              An interesting trip off grounds is Crown Hill.
                              "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

                              John Kennedy at American University 1963

                              "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

                              A. Lincoln

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