World’s Largest Sporting Event: The Indianapolis 500
The most exhilarating motorsports event of the year is almost here! Held every year over Memorial Day weekend, the Indy 500 will take place on May 28, 2017 this year. People from all over the world come to Indianapolis to experience this legendary live-action thrill, and as one of the top-rated hotels near Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the JW Marriott Indianapolis is your guide to all the action.
Fun Facts About the Indy 500
It’s called the Indy 500 because the race is a total of 500 miles. Held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’s a 2.5-mile oval circuit with 200 laps.
15,000 gallons of beer are consumed on race day.
The first event held at the track was not the Indianapolis 500, but a hot air balloon race in 1909.
The very first Indianapolis 500 took place on May 30, 1911. The race was won by Ray Harroun, who boasted an average speed was 74.602 mph and received a prize of $50,000. Today’s Indy 500 winners typically go 227 mph and earn $3 million.
The actual size of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is immense. Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Coliseum and Vatican City all can fit inside the IMS oval – which covers 253 acres.
The Indy 500 track is referred to as “The Brickyard.” In late 1909, 3.2 million paving bricks were laid to upgrade the racing surface of the Speedway. Now, only one yard (3 feet) of bricks are visible, at the start/finish line.
More than 4,900 tires are used in qualifying and running the Indy 500 each year. Some of the used tires are recycled into artwork along Mass Avenue.
Stay at Our Hotel Near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Located just 4.6 miles from the famous race, the JW Marriott Indianapolis is not only one of the most highly ranked hotels near Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we were also named #1 in the Midwest and the #5 hotel in the entire U.S. by Condé Nast. Our central location makes it easy to enjoy the race as well as the top restaurants, museums, and attractions in downtown Indianapolis; while our stellar amenities, including an indoor pool, modern fitness center, and spa services make it easy to unwind between events. From our stylish accommodations, to the award-winning dining at Osteria Pronto and our own on-site Starbucks®, our downtown hotel is the perfect choice for guests traveling to Indianapolis for this thrilling weekend.
Helpful Tips for First-Timers
Ear plugs and sunscreen are a must! We also suggest arriving early to allow enough time for inspection of coolers, bags, and other items.
Things like cameras and binoculars are allowed. Selfie sticks, on the other hand, are not. To avoid any confusion and delays during inspection, make sure you don’t bring any items that are prohibited.
There’s ample entertainment throughout the race weekend, including the IPL 500 Festival Parade, which takes place the night before the race and draws over 300,000 visitors. Watch spectacular floats, costumed characters, marching bands, and helium balloons fill the streets of downtown. The weekend festivities continue with concerts from big-name bands, tailgating, car practice-runs, and parties throughout the city.
Tickets start at $40 and sell out quickly – so plan ahead. Kids 15 and under enter free with an adult General Admission ticketholder.
Check out the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum (located just five miles from downtown), to learn more about the rich history of the race, the Speedway grounds, and the brave drivers who have made the Indy 500 one of the most famous races in the world. Museum Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 -15. Children under 5 are free.