Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2006
My Photo

« Early Numbers for Indy 500 Show Rise and TV Viewers, Ratings from 2013 | Main | Belle Isle: Penske’s “Personal Grand Prix” »

May 29, 2014

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Tim in Independence

IMS itself had a decent sized article on its website about the gate changes.

http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/indy500/news/show/52667-ims-to-implement-proven-gate-plan-for-easier-fan-entry/


It also appears that the weekend went off without a hitch according to most TF posters

http://www.trackforum.com/forums/showthread.php?186434-IMS-solved-the-gate-fiasco-from-last-year&highlight=gate

autoweek discussed glamping

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20140528/CARNEWS/140529813

Davidindycar

The yellow shirts weren't checking any coolers when I walked through the gates. They were only looking at tickets. The concession stand lines were ridiculously long and to have to wait for outrageous food prices is like getting two black eyes for the price of one.
The police should be able to get traffic off of 465 better. At Crawfordsville Rd exit, they go from a 2 lane exit, down to 1 lane as you get to Crawfordsville Rd under the bypass and then back to 2 lanes once you are on Crawfordsville Rd. That's a traffic nightmare.

Brett

If you are looking for headlines only bad news makes the news so no headlines means there was no major problems. The biggest complaint I had (because it effected me) was the parking in the North 40. Last year if you bought a parking pass you parked in the front of the North 40, this year it got you a guaranteed spot but you were just mixed in with (or well behind) the people with no passes. Not sure it is worth $25 to park in the back of the North 40 like I do think it is to park at the front! And you definitely don't feel like you are getting your money's worth when the guy right behind you got a parking spot right next to you for free and you went off and paid $25 months ago!

Tom Rowell

I don't have a blog or a link but I was at IMS and Mark Wilkinson's evaluations are pretty much spot on. I always get to the track early (8 AM) so I wasn't too badly affected by last years lines but it seemed more organized to get through the gates this year. I was in SW vista and the concession lines were equally as long and cumbersome as Mark mentioned in the North. I was also surprised that with all the money IMS received for improvements, none of it seemed to have gone in to the washrooms, which are antiquated and in desperate need of an upgrade. One really nice addition was that they had craft beer stands, I saw one near the main gate at 16th and Georgetown and on carb day there was one in the North end. I hope this catches on because I am not a fan of Miller Lite or Foster's which are the standard IMS beer choices and there are some pretty awesome Indiana craft brews out there (Including the excellent Hinchtown Hammer down golden ale). In terms of the Social media garage, I actually think that it's replacement (the Forza Motorsports simulators) was pretty cool and most of the other features of the SM garage could be found in the new Verizon fan zone, which was very well done.

Glenn Harm

Food prices: Significantly increased. I brought more of my own food/drink in than past years.

Entering on gates: painless. Large queues setup with plenty of personnel. It would seem they addressed this very well.

Garage access (pre-race day of course): They stopped searching bags there which was always a hassle, multiple times a day. They may have changed that last year as I wasn't around. Oh, but I just remembered, I did come in the back (south-east) entrance once and they did search my bag there. [shrug]

Verizon. For as big of a deal as they made it seem that they were increasing cell/data capacity there, data was basically unusable on Friday when track populatin was high. That didn't bode well for race day, and sure enough, data was unresponsive starting as early as 9AM. If it weren't for the IMS public wifi in the stands, I probably wouldn't have gotten any data usage from 9AM through the end of the race. Verizon pretty much failed here in my book, and yes, I am a Verizon customer with a Samsung Galaxy S3.

New location for fan zone/village. Super wise move--I have to believe that was deemed successful.

DZ

Traffic/Gates:
Am a 26-race veteran and early arriver so I pretty much have ingress/egress covered although the changes that closed OUTGOING Crawfordsville road to vehicle traffic for 90 minutes after race end seemed bass-akward to me.

Facility:
Ticket people - great.

Gate people - friendly.

Concessions - based on the lines experienced at GP Indy and Sat before the 500, I knew buying food there meant far too much money and time away from the racing action. Did like the craft beer vendor upgrades.

Camping - haven't camped in two years, and with the security issues, don't see it happening until changes are made.
Seats/General - Facility was clean and several upgrades were noted. I noted the seat numbering was tighter in our section than in past. Previous seat number sticker residue would also indicate this.

Events/Race:
Race Day - Great with Pomp on 11. Always a treat to be there for the last 60 minute build-up.

Other Days - Was only there on Sat so the Legends Day we attended to get some chill time at IMS, garage area, do the museum, and get some autographs. Just as we wanted.

Overall: A positive experience which allowed my son's 2nd 500 to be enjoyable and fun. In the Saturday autograph line, Parnelli chatted briefly with my son and stuck out his hand to shake my son's. That was a highlight of the weekend for me, only wish I had a picture of that.

Ansen

Went for my 6th race with my dad (who has been going on and off for 40 years), my 16 year old brother (his 3rd race), and my 15 year old sister (her 1st race).

We got to the track at 7:00, so minimal traffic and no line at our gate. Yellow shirts checked our coolers and bags quickly and were friendly. Our seats are in the paddock less than a section from the start/finish line. Yellow shirt in our section was 30+ year veteran and very nice and knowledgeable.

We went down to Turn 1 and walked across the track, took pictures, etc. Then hit up the museum. We all wanted to buy some shirts/hats or something, but both me (late 20's) and my teenage siblings were pretty underwhelmed by the merch options. Most everything they sell looks like gaudy NASCAR stuff - there's very little anyone in their 20's or teens would ever want to wear. Brother finally found a hat he kinda liked, but sister left without anything. My siblings both think Indycar is "cool," but their merch is anything but that. Get the drivers and wives in there to approve the designs or something - no one as fashion-conscious as them would buy any of that stuff either!

We walked through the fan village and it was alright, but not a lot there we were terribly interested in. Verizon branding was everywhere though. Brother wanted to walk through the Chevy area and see the Corvettes, so he enjoyed that.

We brought some of our own food, but brother was determined to get a turkey leg. None of the stands we visited had their food delivered yet. By the time they had them, the lines were long, but he toughed it out and waited for one. If they already had the food there by 7-8, maybe more people would stop by earlier and lines would lessen slightly later?

Sitting near the yard of bricks is awesome for the pre-race. You get a great view of the driver intros, anthem, Nabors, and so on. Race itself was awesome. This was my first race since the new car, so I loved the sound of the turbos. Sister was blown away by the speed. Loved the red flag call. Good middle ground between ending under yellow and the gimmicky green-white-checker finish. Stuck around and watched RHR drink the milk and kiss the bricks.

Overall, we loved the experience! First-timer (and non sports-loving) sister said she had a blast and wants to go again. Not trying to gloss over the negatives, but for me, the issues (yucky bathrooms, crappy merch, concession lines) pale in comparison to getting to go watch the Indy 500!

Bob

Ok I know it’s a lot of people but ims needs to get the parking right.
I do not mind paying and it was a big jump but get with the police and follow the instruction put out, big problems at lot two and it was all due to poor execution.

Ted Wolfram

We start to arrive on Thursday since I attend the "Old Timer's Dinner"....this year honoring AJ Foyt. We have reserved parking just outside the track on 25th Street since our seats are in J and deck tickets above NW Vista. I have credentials so getting in and out on Friday and Saturday is no problem, but the people who wanted to go to Legends day had to pay, and for concerts were also separate tickets.

I believe with the Speedway is making a mistake in pricing everything but for using the toilets.

The entry in on race morning was fine, plenty of workers, the pre-race very good, and the race excellent for real race fans.

For the TV audience not so much...the same cars going round and round with every car looking and sounding the same quickly becomes boring to casual fans...and according to several I've talked to... they turned it off.

Too many empty seat even with Kroger giving away ticket (2 for $150 worth of groceries).

The Speedway is going to remove more seats, probably bring the seating down to about 200,000.

A 3.8 TV rating which was up a bit from last year, (but last year was the lowest since 1997), and far below 2005 where during the last 15 minutes of the race had an 8.8 rating when Danica led.

Overall I thought things went well....and unless and until IndyCar opens the formula....this is as good as it'll get....so enjoy what we've got!!

It's not 1964 when a huge crowd came and the race was shown on closed circuit TV, but it also wasn't the mess the 64 race turned into....Thank God!!

So all in all it was good event...not as memorable as many others (1946 was my first race), but NOT the worst by far.

Zach B

I didn't think the issue last year with lines was as much about coolers as it was about just being overwhelmed by people due to the increasing crowds. Either way they had it fixed by the Brickyard and about 11a when I went through it was smooth.

I rarely get good but it's pricey and the stands that got the new menus are odd. I know they fancy up things like the tenderloin which don't need it. But its not bad though, I just pack my cooler.

I camp in Lot 6, its a quiet lot. When we started a there about 2008ish they had an incredible group of buddies that were the lot security. Befriended them and have heard them year by year get frustrated by the seemingly pointless changes in procedures. Rules like like tents or no tents change event to event and year to year leaving regular patrons upset. The last one quit, on the spot and pulled his camper out on Carb Day after he was left to check-in, sell passes, help ensure proper parking, collect money etc. for the sold-out lot alone on Thursday. The replacements rarely came off the gate to check on things. And nobody seems to care. I have friends in 1C who have noticed similar decreases in the proactiveness of lot security in recent years. Wish I knee who to follow up on but even basic questions to the IMS twitter feed and IMS email go unanswered and I am sure Doug Boles will hate me although at least he answers me.

And as a bronze badge holder I get frustrated by how hard it is to know all the benefits of having one (3 yes now). Getting in early is a perk but is only documented in an FB post from 2012. I guess there was parking till this year, never had been directed there before and I would have skipped the damp Fast Friday had I known it was good for pit access on Monday.

will

They completely destroyed the in-person buzz of qualifying. I'll probably go again, but at this point I'm going for the fun of our boys weekend. That weekend lacked anything that resembled a climax in person.

As for race day, it was a great race. I didn't get anything from concessions, but my wife complained about a 45 minute wait for a tenderloin. Prices were up, but I consider them still relatively on-par with any other sporting event. Entry was probably too easy - I had a ticket but could have easily snuck in GA without paying.

Oh, and every trough in turn 3 that I visited had some dude's number offering his, umm, services on the wall in sharpie marker.

pressdog

I greatly appreciate these comments. Very interesting. I hope the peeps at IMS take the time to read through them. Great source of both what's going well and some opportunities for improvement here.

The Speedgeek

As I threatened on Twitter…

I’ll toss my overall grade for the event out here right now: a solid A-. Most stands were full, and the ones that weren’t were probably 90% full. The Turn 3 infield was packed, and the Snake Pit looked like an absolute madhouse, even from a half a mile away. Factor all those things together, and we’re still talking about a crowd of 225,000+ people (stands at 95% full, plus another 10k on viewing mounds or in the infield, and 5k more in the Snake Pit…all of which might be a touch low). Given that fact, I think IMS does an admirable job of handling as many people as they get on Race Day.

Parking: we got to the track at about 8:15, and the Coke Lot was already full. That’s never happened to us before, so we made a semi-panic move and parked in a yard a block north of the Coke Lot for $15 (could have held out for cheaper, but we really wanted to get into the track ASAP, so as to not miss the Tweet Up for the second straight year). A mixed-bag C- for parking, mostly because we could still see parts of the Coke Lot weren’t actually totally full. They are going to have to fix the security issues in the Coke Lot before I spend a single solitary minute in there after dusk from here on out, though…

Ingress: we didn’t have any issues with delays last year (crowds still weren’t huge by 9:30 last year, even at the Gate 9 entrance), but you could tell that IMS had really studied the issues they had. Instead of having people stuck outside the gates on Georgetown, they routed people inside the gate, then into a snaking line to a couple dozen security tables/ticket takers. The line moved pretty quickly, so even though we hit at a particularly heavy moment, we still only took 10 or so minutes getting in. The line disappeared behind us as they opened more lanes, so people who arrived 5 minutes behind us probably only waited 2-3 minutes to get in. A+ for ingress.

Fan Village: an inspired choice to move from the Museum parking lot hinterlands to the more centralized location east of the Media Center. Too crowded when we went in there on Friday, but that’s a great problem to have. B+ for the Fan Village.

Social Media Garage: missing in action, but the aforementioned Xbox booth looked very well attended. I’ll give a C for this, since as much as I missed the SMG, I can’t be upset at IMS for kicking out something they were paying for in favor of something they probably got a sizeable check for. I hope they manage to find a way for the SMG to make a return in future years.

Concessions: it’s been well documented that they added some new, more expensive, fancy pants items. What most people have been omitting is that you almost have to know where to go to get said fancy pants items. If you picked any random outlying stand, you’d be getting the same stuff you always got, for just slightly higher prices than previously (in most cases about $1 more than last year; now $7 for a tenderloin, $6 for a burger, etc.). Gouging? Eh, that's arguable, but I don’t think so. Everything’s about as expensive as you’d pay at any other sporting event. I can’t speak for long waits for food (except for on Saturday, when I was determined to have a New Tenderloin in the Pagoda Plaza…my wait for that was about 20 minutes), since I got my Race Day Classic Tenderloin in about 10 minutes. B+ for concessions.

Ticket prices: I refuse to get upset about this. I’m not buying tickets for a local minor league baseball game (of which there are probably 40-50 per year, and you’re paying for well under world class talent), I’m buying tickets for a once-a-year historical occurrence. $103 does not feel exorbitant for that, especially for seats that can see half the track. As for charging for parking, Legends Day, concerts (which, duh), increasing Carb Day prices…all that stuff is just being smart. Otherwise, IMS is giving away assets for free and leaving bushels of cash on the table. I can’t hate on them for trying to get payback for supplying sought after products. Prices get a straight up B.

Egress: a bit more of an issue, with Georgetown traffic being semi-inexplicably routed away from 38th Street up to Lafayette (which necks traffic down from four lanes to two, creating a terrible bottleneck, even 90 minutes after the race is over). This gets a D+, but I’ll happily place this more on the State Troopers (um, unless they’re reading this, in which case they get an A+ for making sure nobody died in the escape from the track on Sunday).

The Race: as almost always, an A+. Already counting down the days to the 99th Running…

Mark Wilkknson

Thanks for the props on my good, bad, and ugly blather at newtrackrecord.com. I've always been a see-both-sides kind of guy and it comes out in my writing.

It's good to know that the race experience for most people was still good. My overall experience was fine, but there were some rough edges. Like Andy, I don't mind a business charging what the market will bear. It's called capitalism and it works. I do mind when they charge and refuse to deliver a product. I'll keep you updated on how that turns out. I've been told my complaint about the North 40 is in the pipeline.

In any case, the racing was scintillating and that's what we go to see.

Tom M.

Leave home at 630am.....two hours to indy.....30-45 minutes to park (I park just off lyndurst) usually in our seats by 10. I had no trouble last year because of this schedule....but we got there ahead of the Boston Marathon bag checking. This year...throw in waiting about 15-20 minutes to rent a scanner ... and we were in our seats just after 10.

They definetly had help checking people in and extra gate were added on georgetown road.

Me personally....I had one of the easiest in and outs of the speedway ... and we've been going since 2002.

As for concessions....(and we do pack a couple of coolers) .. i didn't notice any major price hikes. Yeah .. beers were 6 dollars... but that still a lot cheaper that other sporting events.

All in all....two thumbs for me. Including the race !!

Martin

Several folks have chimed in, but I'll add another data point.

Last year was probably my worst 500 experience. Traffic getting to the track was awful, and I ended up directed to a parking lot farther away than the one I had paid to park in. I saw a lot of cars entering the lot and parked in the lot without permits. I wasn't pleased. Already delayed, I had a long(er) walk to the track. I ended up missing all the pre-race festivities and the first two laps of the race. Seeing TK win was great, but the traffic and parking issues soured my experience.

Fast forward to this year. The speedway raised the pricing for parking. I couldn't bring myself to pay $40 to park, not when it doesn't guarantee me a spot and IMS doesn't do anything about the freeloaders. I also am not fun of the drunks and tailgaters you have to wade through in the lot and along Georgetown. I spent my money elsewhere this year and paid to park at Indianapolis Int'l Airport and take the shuttle bus that is mentioned on the IMS website. I knew I could bypass all the traffic jams and just go straight to the airport.

I know IMS doesn't run the shuttle, but I was very pleased with the experience. The attendant at the entrance to the airport parking garage was very friendly and helpful. I used the relatively-clean restroom at the airport instead of some stinky porta-potty in a grass lot. I only waited 5 minutes for a bus, and boarding was easy. About 30 minutes later, I was dropped off at 16th and Polco, right outside the track. Clear instructions were given about where to board after the race. In the end, the shuttle ($25 round-trip) and airport parking ($10) cost me less than the problematic IMS parking would have cost me. I voted with my parking dollars and feel like I won.

Last year I had no problem getting through security at the gate, but maybe it was because I had arrived late at the track. This year was equally trouble-free. I had no wait when I went through the gate at about 10:30 Eastern. No waiting either at the Tower Terrace. The yellow shirt was pleasant and polite.

In years past, I would hang out by the winner's circle to see Jim Nabors, Florence Henderson, et al up-close and take some photos. Then I would hustle to my seat at the top of the Tower Terrace grandstand at the pit entrance. I would have to climb over people or get people to move when they take my seat, thinking it was unoccupied. This year I just took pics of the pits and went to my seat to enjoy the pre-race festivities. No climbing over people.

I only used cellular data once around 11:15 Eastern to post a couple pics to Facebook from my Verizon smartphone. They uploaded fine. In previous years, I couldn't even get a tweet out. I know an earlier commenter had Verizon data issues, but I had no problem that one time I tried using it.

No comment on the concessions, as I go to the track to watch the race and that's it. Guess I'm unusual.

I liked having families and older people sitting around me. As stated before, I'm not a fan of rowdy drunks. You won't catch me anywhere near the "Snake Pit." I liked the "family section" I sat in at Iowa Speedway several years ago. I think the ticket price in my section may keep rowdy people away, so maybe a "family section" may not be necessary at IMS. It could be something to consider if things get too crazy in the future.

One downside of sitting under the Tower Terrace suites is what has happened to me post-race just about every year. Someone must be emptying a cooler or something, because a cascade of water comes down from the suite above onto the grandstand seats below. Not sure if I should mention it to IMS, as it's pretty much VIP or sponsor-related people who sit up there. Can't upset those folks.

After RHR completed his lap around the track in the convertible to salute the fans, I left the grandstand. A genial yellow shirt noticed my camera and asked if I got any good photos. I appreciate that he asked, instead of just pacing around like a guard dog. A good attitude among track staff makes for a better guest experience.

The bus lot had colored balloons to mark the right places to queue up. I was worried when I saw about 100 people in line to head to the airport, but the wait ended up being only 15 minutes.

I have been attending the Indy 500 since 2008, and I think the experience this year was the best yet.

Mike Murphy

Gate went smooth but then again I pass through the wire about 7 am each year. Now what the hell is going on in the coke lot? IMS needs to contact SEAL Team 6 or get a Texas Ranger to lay down the law out there. My sons have been after me to camp at the track and give up my hotel room in cozy little Greenfield. Not likely to happen now unless Coleman or Northface start making bullet proof tents or IMS starts providing sandbags and Hesco barriers to build proper defensive fortifications around my camp.

It

Coke lot camping for Saturday night camping and race day parking increased from $40 to $100 and this year there was a shooting. The gate personnel said their insurance increased so they had to raise the price.

Tom G.

3rd year in a row attending the race. Have to say, I didn't notice a whole lot of changes. For all the hand wringing about the pork tenderloins, and the new concession prices I felt it was pretty much a non issue. The food was better, but a couple bucks more expensive. Still not out of line with prices at any major league ballpark.

Getting into the track was a breeze. The orchestration of pre-race activities seamless as usual. Wanted to check out the glamping area because it intrigues the hell out of me. Mostly because I'd love to camp inside IMS, and away from the thousands of drunken yahoos. (Sorry drunken yahoos. I luvs ya, but I'm not camping with ya).

The increase in the parking prices kept me from buying parking in an IMS lot. But this turned out great because I show up early enough (6:30am) that I ended up parking for free behind the Speedway Townhall, about a mile away. Got out in no time too.

My son begged for Charlie Brown's pancakes on race morning, and we luckily made it in before the wait go too long. Have to say as far as visits to the 500 went, this one was amazingly smooth and painfree.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Get the Indy Inside Scoop!


pressdog® Merchandise


Subscribe

  • Get notified by e-mail when
    the blog is updated.

    Name:
    Email:
    Subscribe 

    Your e-mail address won't be shared/sold/rented/loaned etc.