Why is the Indianapolis 500 So Special to Indiana?

Why is the Indianapolis 500 So Special to Indiana?

The Indianapolis 500, often referred to as "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" holds a special place in the hearts of Indiana residents for several reasons.

1. Tradition:  The Indianapolis 500 has been held annually since 1911, making it one of the oldest motor races in the world.  It's a tradition that has been passed down through generations of Indiana families.

2. Pride:  The Indianapolis 500 is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), which is considered the world's largest sporting venue.  It has a permanent seating capacity of 257,325, with temporary infield seating raising the total to approximately 400,000. This easily makes it the highest-capacity sports venue in the world. Indiana residents are proud that such a globally recognized event takes place in their state.

3. Economic Impact:  The race brings significant economic benefits to the state, including tourism, job creation, and global exposure. The Indiana University Public Policy Institute recently estimated the race generates $566.4 million to Central Indiana's local economy in the race month of May.

4. Community:  The Indianapolis 500 is more than just a car race.  It is a month-long celebration that includes parades, concerts, and other community events which fosters a sense of community. 

For example, the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon has been voted "America's Best Half Marathon." The race starts in downtown Indy and includes a 2.5 mile lap around the IMS.  As a tradition, participants even get to kiss the bricks at the renowned "Yard of Bricks" on the oval track. The Mini-Marathon brings in more than 20,000 participants from around the world each year.

5. Motorsports Culture:  Indiana has a rich motorsports culture. The Indianapolis 500 is a testament to the state's love for racing and its history in the automotive industry. Indianapolis has several nicknames -- "Naptown", "Circle City", and "The Crossroads of America".  But residents are most proud of its designation as "The Racing Capital of the World."

6. Excitement:  The thrill of the race, the roar of the engines, the speed of the cars, and the anticipation of who will drink the traditional bottle of milk in the winner's circle all contribute to making the Indianapolis 500 a special event for everyone, but especially the residents of Indiana.


Back to blog