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This is the Indy 500 live fun report — so, everything but the actual race. If you’re looking for that, too, you can find that over here.
After two pandemic years, the Indianapolis 500 was back at full throttle, and it was an adventure.
Sure, there was a race, but but we came for the party. No crowd restrictions meant the return of the Snake Pit and the infield and the lots and full(er) stands — the ultimate party and people-watching experience.
Did you miss the fun? You’re in luck: we’re professional people-watchers. Relive the party with our 2022 Indy 500.
Indy 500 2022 start time:Indy 500 race day schedule at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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Medical tent reports using overflow
Less than 50 laps in the race and it seems the heat and the excitement of the day is getting to some race attendees.
Toward the end of the race, temperatures fell to 80 degrees with 49% humidity, according to the National Weather Service. Winds made it bearable, but the heat was, at times, intense. That, coupled with revelry, can be a bit much.
Nick Kestner, who directs traffic at the medical tent, said the infield hospital was experiencing its busiest time of the day.
Some people were being sent to the overflow tent near the main hospital, he said.
“It’s just peaking right now,” he said.
While Kestner said that he couldn’t give an exact number of people who’d come through, or even a ballpark, he did say some had been transported offsite.
Kestner expects it’ll be busy until the end of the race, then “it gets quiet.” After, though, it’ll get busy again, he said.
How to avoid coming to the infield hospital? While the ailments are varied, hydration is key.
“Drink water,” Kestner said.
— Claire Rafford
Barbecue in a truck bed
As the race is well underway, the party continues in the infield.
And my search for a tarp in a truck bed, for scavenger hunt purposes, led me to Drew Gearheart’s truck.
Gearheart and Chase Hamm were flipping burgers, shirtless.
It’s Gearheart’s first 500, despite growing up in La Porte and living in Indianapolis now. He left home at 4 a.m. and got to IMS at 7 a.m. to set up his grill.
Breakfast was bacon and eggs. When I caught up with them around 1:30, it was burger time.
First impression of IMS and the 500?
It’s the “best place ever,” Gearheart said.
“The people are nice. (There’s) nice weather,” he continued.
It’s “everything he was expecting,” he said.
When asked if he had any overall thoughts, Gearheart echoed a classic sentiment of Indy 500 attendees.
“Greatest spectacle in racing,” he said.
He then headed back to the grill.
— Claire Rafford
Jim Cornelison brings us ‘Back Home Again’
He’s done it again. For the sixth time, Cornelison’s performance of “Back Home Again (in Indiana)” brought hundreds of thousands of people to their feet, stunned by the quality of his vocals of this iconic Hoosier tune.
An ode to Hoosierdom:50 years after Jim Nabors cemented it, ‘(Back Home Again in) Indiana’ tradition lives on
And after a few rough years, it feels good to be home.
Miles Teller has waved the green flag and the race is underway!
Dale Jr. is so many of us looking at the Snake Pit
We’re just trying to keep up with our counterparts in Turn 3, who are a few steps — let’s be honest, drinks — ahead of us.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., covering the Snake Pit as part of NBC’s pre-race broadcast, briefly joined the fun and had some immediate regrets.
IndyStar reporter Rory Appleton has been in the Snake Pit all day (yes, really) and he’s seeing quite a bit start to pop off (including the occasional item of clothing, according to a text I recently got from him).
Indy 500 red carpet brings Miles Teller, Ezekiel Elliott and more
We’re all gathered to watch 33 cars go around in circles for the next few hours. So it only makes sense reporter Domenica Bongiovanni asked the celebs on the red carpet about their childhood dream cars.
“My dream car, besides the Delorian from ‘Back to the Future,’ was a Mustang convertible 5.0,” said actor Drew Powell, who’s from Lebanon. “My tastes have evolved, but I did just get a brand-new F-150 and that fits me a little bit better now.”
A pickup truck also appealed to Fox Sports anchor Lindsay Czarniak.
“I know that sounds crazy, but that was one of the first cars that I bought after I became, like, self-sufficient and I actually brought my son home from the hospital in a pickup truck,” she said. “And every time I see them now, I miss my pick-up truck.”
For Sacramento Kings forward-guard Justin Holiday, the Dodge Viper was the car.
“It’s a beast,” he said. “It’s the type of car you have to make sure you’re careful with to understand. I love the fact that you have to respect it.”
Steve Aoki is literally throwing sheet cakes into the Snake Pit crowd
I love mess.
Crossing things off the Indy 500 scavenger hunt list
Sam Staley and Willie Bevens, roommates from Columbus, Ohio, drove up race morning for their first Indy 500.
An essential for their day at the track? Jorts, of course. The fashion choice was an “unsaid” agreement between the two, Staley said.
Staley’s drink of choice for the day is Miller Lite, while Bevens is on the hunt for “whatever’s free.”
Cross that one — jorts, long — off the scavenger hunt, folks!
— Claire Rafford
The 500 is a family affair: ‘There’s nothing like it’
The Mathias family’s love of IndyCar racing spans three generations.
Brandon Mathias and his son, Ben, arrived in Speedway for his fourth Indianapolis 500, but it’s their first time camping out. His father, Duane, has gone to several races after his first in 1966.
The family is hooked, Brandon said. This year’s race — the first at capacity since before the pandemic — is Ben’s first race, ever. The 15 year old will join his dad and grandpa in the bleachers near Turn 4.
“It’s very cool,” Ben said.
There’s something about Speedway, Brandon said, that brings thousands of race fans together to talk about the sport more than anywhere else.
“There’s nothing like it in the country,” Brandon said. “This is a very different level of people.”
— Rachel Fradette
And here we go
With about four hours left until the green flag waves, we’re off to the races in Turn 3.
First-timers build an energy-friendly breakfast bar
To engineer the best-smelling setup between Turn 3 and Turn 4, Dante Pettus, LaVonda Mitchell, LaVonna Jefferson and Sam Walton woke up at 3 a.m. to arrive to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. By 8 a.m., the scent of bacon and sausage was wafting from their parking site — ready to accompany a spread including burgers, eggs, pineapple, strawberries, salad, brisket and Amish potato salad.
“I forgot my pancake mix,” Jefferson said.
Given that it was the first Indy 500 for her, Mitchell and Pettus, that couldn’t possibly be counted as a miss.
Powering the griddle was an energy-friendly Jackery solar generator, and a small traditional grill served nearby. If needed, Pettus said the generator could charge a car battery and USB port, among other items.
— Domenica Bongiovanni
Playing dress-up as a ‘redneck race fan’
Stuffed into his back pocket underneath his fanny pack, Michael DeFazio, 32, had an important part of his Indy 500 outfit saved for later: a headkerchief with a mullet attached.
The piece from Amazon will help him put on his infield identity.
“I think the best part of the Indianapolis 500 is when you look out in the crowd, you never know who’s really like a redneck race fan or just playing the part. I’m just playing the part. I don’t care about racing, but I do like to fake it,” he said.
— Domenica Bongiovanni
Join IndyStar’s scavenger hunt!
Reporter Claire Rafford is taking over IndyStar’s Instagram story today, and she’ll be sharing scenes as she roams IMS.
Follow us on Instagram as we take you on an Indy-500 scavenger hunt. IndyStar If you’re out and about today, follow along and let us know what you see! We’re on the hunt for:
- Jorts (long and short)
- American flag suit and romper
- Checkered suit
- Flip flops
- CamelBak filled with alcohol
- Obscure drinking game — and we have to get an explanation of the rules
- A pork tenderloin bigger than someone’s face
- Copy of the IndyStar (obviously)
- An Indy 500-themed tattoo
- An Indiana celebrity
- Someone who’s celebrating their first Indy 500
- Shotgunning beers
- An….unusual…. sunburn
- Tarp in a truck bed
- Birks with AND without socks
- A faraway state license plate
The party has already started
Concerts over in the Snake Pit don’t kick off until 8:15 a.m., but people are already lining up for the show. We’ve already had our Carb Day and Legends Day concerts (rock and country, respectively), so today’s for the EDM fans. Here’s the lineup for the 2022 Snake Pit:
- 8:15 a.m.: Yellow Claw
- 9:15 a.m.: Steve Aoki
- 10:30 a.m.: deadmau5
- 12:50 p.m. Martin Garrix
- 2:35 p.m.: Galantis
Welcome back, race fans!
After a very rainy week, sunshine is expected to return to Central Indiana today — and with it, the heat and humidity. (Wouldn’t be summer in Indiana if it didn’t feel like you were drinking the air, right?)
The National Weather Service is predicting sunny conditions with a high of 85. Some wind is expected, with the occasional gust. Basically, stay hydrated and don’t forget that sunscreen!
It’s 6 a.m. now, the Snake Pit gates open in an hour and the race doesn’t officially start until around 12:45 p.m. In the meantime, we’ve got a few tips, tricks and entertaining anecdotes that might be of interest:
Road closures ahead
Starting at 7 a.m., Georgetown Road south of 25th Street will be closed to all vehicle traffic. To reach the parking lots on Georgetown Road after 7 a.m., traffic coming from 25th Street should use Auburn Road, and traffic coming from Crawfordsville Road should use Winton Avenue.
Around 9-9:30 a.m., watch out for cyclists weaving through traffic on Michigan Road heading toward Speedway. They are participating in the annual “Bike to the 500” group ride with the assistance of a police escort.
Starting around 11 a.m., 16th Street will close from Olin Avenue to Main Street in Speedway. Polco Street, which is between 10th and 16th streets, will also close at this time.
Still packing? Don’t bring these things
You may have heard Indianapolis Motor Speedway reversed its ban on coolers in the Snake Pit. But there are still plenty of things you’d be better off just leaving at home.
There some common items that should be left off the packing list, like selfie sticks, aerosol cans, glass bottles and coolers larger than 18 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches.
And then there’s a list of things you might not think to bring, but someone surely has and now we have to tell you they’re not allowed: rollerblades, skateboards, skates, pogo sticks, bicycles, hover boards, ATVs, mini-bikes, golf carts, scooters, platforms, trampolines, scaffolding, drones, lasers, fireworks, weapons, anything illegal.
Of course, there’s a lot you can bring, such as personal, non-commercial cameras, binoculars, scanners and headsets, CamelBak water bottles, camera stands and flags and umbrellas (as long as they don’t obstruct someone else’s view).
For more details and a full list, visit bit.ly/3MrMgKl.
IndyStar reporters Holly Hays, Kayla Dwyer, Claire Rafford, Rachel Fradette, Rory Appleton contributed.