Indianapolis Motor Speedway hoping for big turnout for inaugural Grand Prix
Saturday will bring a high of 76 and sunny skies to central Indiana this afternoon - great weather for month of May events in Indianapolis.
Gates opened at 7:00 am for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Several races are set for Saturday morning and early afternoon, followed by the Grand Prix at 3:50 pm.
In downtown Indianapolis, the 500 Festival Kids' Day on Monument Circle runs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. It's the state's largest outdoor free festival for children. To keep up with the racing theme, kids can race remote-controlled cars and test their skills in a race car simulator.
At the track, officials tell us they consider attendance over 40,000 a success for the inaugural race, although IMS President Doug Boles said they are hoping curious fans will check it out and boost attendance numbers even higher.
Race-goers can check out the Fan Village at the track, where they can pick up a spotter's guide and souvenirs.
It's a different experience from the Indy 500, but one fan from Seymour, Indiana told us it was "very exciting." It's also different for the racing teams.
In the garage, driver Ed Carpenter told us that he and his crew didn't have to be at the track as early as they typically come in for the Indianapolis 500.
"We came in a little late today. We didn't have to be here until eight o'clock," he explained, referring to the 3:50 pm start for the Grand Prix.
Drivers will be allowed to do a test lap Saturday morning to run a systems check. After that, Carpenter says they'll do a nut-and-bolt check of the car before the race. Then his crew will start working on the oval car!
Practice starts at noon Sunday on the oval, so Carpenter's crew will take the engine from today's race and put it in the oval car so it's ready to run at noon Sunday. It's a busy month of May!
Schedule of Events
7 am - Gates Open - IMS
7 am - 6:00 pm - Celebration of Automobiles - Pagoda Plaza
Visit the COA website for more information
7 am - 6:00 pm - IMS Midway - IMS Infield
10 am - Indy Lights Warm Up - Track
10 am - 10:45 am - Firestone "Race Car" Pin Distribution - Pagoda Plaza
10 am - 5:00 pm - IMS Kids Zone Open - IMS
11 am - USF2000 Race #2 - Track
12:10 pm - Pro Mazda Race #2 - Track
1:30 pm - Indy Lights Race #2 - Track
3 pm - Bronze Badge Grid Walk - Pit Lane
3:30 pm - Pre-Race Ceremonies - Track
3:50 pm - Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis (82 Laps) - Track
The Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be a standing start
6 pm - Gates Close - IMS