Indianapolis 500 fun: Kissing the bricks and racing through the streets in an Indy car

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I never imagined getting to ride in an Indy car, and I certainly never imagined racing through busy city roads inside one.

But there I was, speeding through the streets of Indianapolis in the rear seat of an old Indy 500 race car that had been converted into a legal street automobile.

indycar-ride

At Dallara IndyCar Factory, visitors can see how Indy cars are made. For an additional fee, there’s an option to add a Street Legal adventure inside one of these sweet rides.

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Surprisingly few accommodations are needed to make an Indy car work as a regular street vehicle. The main changes are adding turn signals and brake lights and expanding the seating area to fit two people. Once the car gets its license plate, it’s good to go.

dallara-ride

The ride was short but enjoyable. It was surreal being so low to the ground and riding past businesses, pedestrians, and the actual Motor Speedway in an Indy car. We may have reached speeds of around 70 mph, but of course that’s just a hypothetical number since we would never exceed the speed limit.

indycar-view

Here’s a small portion of the street-legal Indy car ride through the streets of Indianapolis from my perspective. It’s pretty shaky because, well, you try keeping a camera steady under those circumstances!

Indy 500 Grounds Tour

You can’t visit Indy without seeing the actual Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard 400 races. Thanks to Visit Indy, I had an opportunity to participate in the Indy 500 Grounds Tour, available to the public from March to early December. The tour takes visitors behind the scenes, allowing them to stand on the actual race track and at the victory podium.

indy motor speedway victory podium

While watching the Indy 500 on tv, you don’t realize just how massive the track is. There’s enough space on the grounds for an Indy Hall of Fame Museum, multiple parking lots and garages, two miles of grandstands and 250,000 seats, and even a full-size golf course! The first 4 holes are inside the raceway, while the other 14 are just outside the track.

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Here’s the view from the starting line. Imagine how it would feel to be here with the stands packed on race day!

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The track used to be made of bricks, but over the years it was gradually replaced by asphalt, except for a three-foot-wide row of bricks at the starting and finishing line. Traditionally, the race winner gets out and kisses the bricks. Anyone on the Grounds Tour will want to take advantage of the opportunity to plant their lips on this treasured piece of dirty ground.

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Still visible on the race track when I visited were the donuts made by Ryan Newman when he won the Brickyard 400 earlier this year.

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Indy 500 Hall of Fame Museum

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Also on the Indy grounds is the Hall of Fame Museum, which includes more about the history of auto racing than you’d ever need to know.

indy 500 hall of fame museum

The best part of the museum is the collection of winning vehicles from past Indy 500 races. There’s 100 years of history in this next photo – check out the actual winning vehicles from the 1911 and 2011 events. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

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Would you go for a ride in an Indy car or kiss the bricks?

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

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