News & Multimedia

Rite Of Passage At IMS

A lot of our fans first experienced the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a child. I did so as a lanky 13-year-old, exploring the grounds, watching practice from various stands and attempting to sneak into Gasoline Alley numerous times.

As I learned, and as thousands have surely discovered, that first experience at IMS is the moment you get hooked.

For me, it was the sound of the engines, the size of the arena and the bravery of the drivers. I’m guessing you remember your first visit to IMS, and many of the same sights and sounds that I took with me have stayed with you as well. It’s unforgettable.


Waiting patiently for a driver, in 1968


Last spring I brought my young son, Oliver, to the track on a quiet day to enjoy a sunny April afternoon, wanting to share my appreciation for the Pagoda with him.

 

Oliver Sterling Incandela enjoys his first experience at IMS


Within moments, IMS became his playground.

Since then, I’ve worked the three main IMS events and paid closer attention to the kids at our facility. I wanted to think about their exposure to IMS, what got them excited and how we could make a visit to the track an experience that made them fans for life. These youngsters are the future fans and followers of what takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, so the task is definitely worthy of consideration.

Even if I didn’t work at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I’d still have elaborate plans for Oliver and I to visit IMS – practice days, qualifying, bump day and of course, race day. Everyone needs a rite of passage. He’ll have his chance to establish his first memory, pick a favorite driver – even pick a favorite form of motor sport.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has already taken a big step in offering a Kids Club Membership (my son is a member), and beyond that, we’re always thinking of ways we can bring our fans closer to the racing action. Whether it’s a physical visit to IMS or a virtual visit through our website, we still have more work to do, but it’s important to all of us here.

The younger audience has played a pivotal role in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. One only has to look through our 100 year photographic history to see that. Kids have always been a major part of IMS’ fabric.

Like generations of parents before me, I’m gradually introducing my son to this 102-year-old facility, its folklore, history, heroes and excitement. It’s a tradition I hope he passes on to his children, and so on.

Take a look back on photographs of yesteryear and you’ll understand why it’s vital to cultivate a new audience for the general health of auto racing. And how that first experience at a racetrack has the inspirational power to not only breed the next generation of race car fans, but the mechanics, drivers, owners, sponsors, photographers and journalists that will add new chapters to IMS’ history.
 
PHOTOS: Click below more images of Kids At IMS
 

 
You can also view this story with image gallery on SPEEDTV.com
 
Now – let’s hear your stories about visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time.
 
Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Rite Of Passage At IMS
 
Rite Of Passage At IMS
Like generations of parents before me, I'm gradually introducing my son to the 102-year-old IMS facility, its folklore, history, heroes and excitement.
Read More
Related Media
Jimmie Johnson
 
Johnson Clinches Seventh NASCAR Championship at Homestead
Jimmie Johnson earned the new nickname "Seven-Time" after winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which also earned him the 2016 Sprint Cup Series championship -- the seventh of his career. This came after a rough start to the day when Johnson was forced to start from the rear after unapproved adjustments to his car before the race.
Read More
Tony Stewart
 
Relive Tony Stewart's Victories at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Going into his final race this weekend at Homestead, Tony Stewart owns 49 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins. Among the most cherished to the Columbus, Indiana, native are – of course -- his two Brickyard 400 wins, in 2005 and 2007.
Read More
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
 
IMS End-of-Season Sale Set for Nov. 19
Fans can take advantage of the lowest prices of the season on their favorite Race Day apparel, souvenirs, diecasts and more on from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center inside the famed oval. Discounted merchandise from the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, 100th Running of the Indy 500, Brickyard 400, Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational and the Red Bull Air Race will be included, with much more.
Read More
Veterans Day
 
Special Veterans Day Note from IMS President Doug Boles
Happy Veterans Day to all Veterans. On behalf of IMS fans everywhere, thank you for your service.
Read More
Jimmie Johnson
 
Johnson Scores Ninth Martinsville Win, Advances to Championship 4
Winless at the .526-mile short track since the spring race of 2013, Jimmie Johnson ended his “drought” on Sunday with a victory in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 and earned a berth in the Championship 4 race, set for Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 712
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
RT @jdouglas4: Really great to see so many here @IMS for Lights at the Brickyard! Last car just left! Here is the view from where I worked…
about 4 hours ago