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
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
Gasoline Alley
Month of May Bronze Badges Now On Sale
One of the most treasured pieces of racing memorabilia and among the greatest entertainment values in sports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Month of May Bronze Badges are on sale now just in time for the holiday season. Visit for purchasing information.
Read More
Hulman Terrace Club
New Hulman Terrace Club Offers Premium Seating for IMS Events
The Hulman Terrace Club, located on the outside of the front straightaway of the famed 2.5-mile oval past the exit of Turn 4, will feature more than 1,000 seats plus ADA-accessible seating for fans seeking a club option similar to what is offered at many other major U.S. stadiums. It’s the first new seating option at IMS in more than a decade and a key piece of the ongoing Project 100 initiative. Pre-sale registration is available here with tickets officially going on sale Dec. 1.
Read More
Jay Frye
Hulman Motorsports Announces Leadership Appointments
Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles announced today that widely respected motorsports industry veteran Jay Frye has been named President of Competition and Operations for INDYCAR. Frye previously served as Chief Revenue Officer for Hulman Motorsports after decades of experience leading successful NASCAR racing teams and securing industry first sponsorships.
Read More
Rev Indy
Hinchcliffe Named Honorary Chairman of Rev 2016
“It really is a thrill for me to be partnering with Rev this year,” said Hinchcliffe, who has four Verizon IndyCar Series victories. “I can’t believe how it has grown into a must-attend event in just two years.
Read More
Will Power
Verizon IndyCar Series' Momentum Shows in 2016 Schedule
Highlighted by the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in May, IndyCar has added two more pieces of history to 2016 with returns to the 1-mile oval in Phoenix and the beloved 4-mile road course in Elkhart Lake.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 296
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
Latest Tweets
RT @RevIndyEvent: Perfect #RevIndy representation! @USFoods chef shoes meet @Hinchtown driving shoes at @IMS
about 6 hours ago