The early August or late July heat has been a major factor in the declining attendance of the Brickyard 400 over the years, but not anymore. The Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard (or what’s more commonly known as the “Brickyard 400”) will be taking place Sunday, September 9, 2018. With its new date, The Brickyard 400 will be the final race of NASCAR’s regular season before the top 16 drivers enter into a 10-race playoff battle for the championship.
If you have used the summer heat as your excuse for not attending the Brickyard 400 in the past, this year is your time to join in the excitement and be a part of the revitalization of the historic race. Continue reading to find out how to best prepare for a fun-filled day of NASCAR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Some of you might be scratching your head trying to figure out why you feel you already have plans for September 9. Well, it’s probably because that is the same date as the Indianapolis Colts first regular season game. And, guess what! It’s also at home.
Why would NASCAR and the NFL schedule these events on the same day at intersecting times (Colts is at 1pm and Brickyard 400 is at 2pm)?
First, President of IMS Doug Boles did say that the Colts sent a formal request to the NFL to have their game scheduled for a different day, location, or, at the very least, start time. The request was denied.
Why was the request denied?
The NFL does not deem the Indianapolis Colts to be a big money maker, thus they didn’t want to give them a prime time game the opening week. The NFL also does not like to have a team’s first two games of the season be away games, and there was a major concert the following weekend at the Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium that wouldn’t allow the Colts to have a home game in week two of the season.
Who was the artist blocking a week two home game? Taylor Swift.
That’s the NFL’s excuse, but what’s NASCAR’s reasoning for not moving the date? NBC Sports cannot change the date and time of their broadcast very easily, as they are in charge of coverage that goes way beyond the NASCAR schedule. It would meant reconfiguring the time and date of a number of sporting events happening across the country.
So to sum it up–the Brickyard 400 will go head-to-head with the Indianapolis Colt’s first home game of the season. Hopefully, fans will realize there will be other Colt’s games to attend this year, but only one Brickyard.
Maybe next year this will be scheduled a bit better, but for this year, we will just blame Taylor Swift! ????????
WHERE TO SIT
While ticket sales are up this year, the Brickyard 400 crowd is nothing in comparison to the Indianapolis 500, leaving seating options open.
If you’re looking for a decently priced ticket with a great view, search for seating in the J Stand or Northwest Vista in Turn 4. If you’re willing to splurge, find tickets in any of the Penthouses on the front stretch, as those are the best seats in the house, and provide a view of the majority of the track and pit stop areas.
Looking for the best party in town on September 9? The infield is still the spot to go. While you won’t be jamming out to any live shows or DJs, like you would see at the Indy 500, the infield does provide its attendees the ability to move about throughout the event.
WHERE TO PARK
IMS parking passes sell out fast, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t excellent, alternative parking spots in neighborhoods surrounding the track. Typically these spots are residents’ yards, and can go for $15-30 each. Bring cash for easy payment.
Park on the south end of IMS if you are in the following sections: Paddock, A Stand, B Stand, E Stand, SW Vista, South Vista G Stand or SE Vista. The best spots will be near Polco Street and 10th Street.
Park on the north end of IMS if you are in the following sections: C Stand, H Stand, J Stand, NW Vista, North Vista, or Northeast Vista. Utilize the neighborhoods behind the front stretch between 21st and 25th streets, or check north of 30th Street.
Try to avoid lanes off of 30th Street, Crawfordsville and/or 16th Street that lead into the infield. These will be backed up for miles and will leave you sitting in traffic. Utilize side streets and neighborhoods, as much as possible.
Parking can become overwhelming if you’re not prepared, so please check out tips and tricks on the IMS website at www.ims.com/planyourvisit.
TIME OF ARRIVAL
The green flag will drop at 2pm EST on Sunday, September 9. With a later start time and smaller crowd, fans that live in the Indianapolis area can get plenty of sleep and ease their way in to the track around mid to late morning. For those coming from areas outside of central Indiana, allow enough time to arrive at the track around noon.
WHAT TO EAT
There will be food and drink vendors all over the place, offering food from hotdogs and hamburgers to turkey legs and Asian cuisine. Almost all vendors will take cash or credit card as payment.
If you’re looking to save a couple bucks, bring a cooler!
- All coolers and bags must be 18”x14”x14” or smaller, but hard and soft coolers are both allowed
- Beverages, whether they are alcoholic or not, must be in aluminum cans and/or bottles. Hard liquor must be in the plastic bottles. NO GLASS CONTAINERS!
- All coolers and bags will be inspected and measured before entering the track
Ideas for your cooler:
- Food – sandwiches, fruit, cookies, chips, and/or easy to pack Oscar Mayer Lunchables
- Drinks – WATER! Lots and lots of water, soda, juice boxes for kids (or adults), and of course, booze if your 21 years or older
- Wet washcloth – even in September, it might get hot in the stands. Keep a wet wash cloth that you can bring out from time to time to help keep you cool throughout the day
- Sunscreen – keeping sunscreen in the cooler makes it feel cool on your skin on a warm day
It truly does not seem like it has been 25 years since Jeff Gordon took home the trophy of the inaugural Brickyard 400, yet here we are. While crowd size may have dwindled over the years, the drivers still feel the significance of having the opportunity to race on the famed track and possibly take home the forever title of “Brickyard 400 Winner.” This is still a marquee event for NASCAR and its drivers, and with its new date and place in the season’s schedule, the intensity level is only amplified.
The 25th running of the Brickyard 400 will air live at 2pm EST on NBCSN.
[[Featured Image: July 23, 2017 – Speedway, IN, USA: Kasey Kahne (5) wins the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, IN.]]