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Fast and Furious in Indianapolis

If you’ve never been to a car race, it can be hard to imagine the appeal of something like the Indianapolis 500. But it’s the little things that lock it in–the visceral details that you can’t pick up from the TV screen. Being up close to the track, you can feel the snare of the wind as cars snap around corners and the rumble of shifting gears shaking through your bones. It’s a feeling that’s overwhelmingly immediate. You’re there. You’re part of the race. And even if you don’t know antifreeze from anti-lock, it’s exciting as hell.

The Indianapolis 500 is one of those races that is even more thrilling than usual. Not just because it’s big (and as the largest single-day sporting event in the world, it’s pretty huge) but because it’s a straight-up spectacle. The race itself–which takes place on May 30, 2010–only takes about three hours to complete, but in the days leading up to the main event the racing grounds are host to live music events, autograph signings, vintage car showings, and expert panels.

Outside of the stadium, there’s even more going on. The whole town of Indianapolis goes into a state of high celebration as early as the first week of May, when the famous 500 Festival kicks off a series of race-related events. This energetic festival offers a little bit of everything, from a kids’ day and a 5k run to a princess pageant and a massive parade. And even if you’re not into organized events, you’ll find that drink and dining specials abound–though you’ll have to book ahead of time if you’re looking for Indianapolis cheap hotels, which sell out fast!

Prefer to start off with a slightly smaller race? July will bring the Brickyard 400 race to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP starts in August.


Photo by swisscan via Flickr.


My name: Kate Beall

How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.

Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.

First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.

View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.

Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.

Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.


Susan Kennedy

A lot of Europeans mock the Indy 500 as cars going round in a circle. True, there re no corners, but it really is the zenith of motorsport.

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