The best seats in the house

Monday, January 31, 2011

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Ran into a buddy last week whose family has been attending the Indianapolis 500 since the days of the first seat belt. He breathlessly talked of his latest re-enlistment, bragging that his seats in the crow’s nest above the South Vista were the “best in all of Marion County.”

Sounded like a challenge. Are they really the best seats at Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Where are the best viewing spots for the race? Here’s a short list, but it’s far from set in stone:

High in Section E (Turn 1). The overhang above Turn 1 is the most magical place at the Speedway, especially if you’re in the front row. Ticket-holders here have an unobstructed view of everything from Turn 4 to Turn 2. The view from the roof above even more spectacular if you are lucky enough to be a photographer.

Underhang behind the start-finish line. This spot, below the upper deck, used to be an auxiliary area for the press but it is now being converted to suites. It’s like sitting courtside at the NBA Finals. It feels as though you can reach out and touch the cars. The reverberations will make you cross-eyed, so bring ear protection! 

Top floor of the pagoda. Unless you’re the president or pope or one of the Kardashian sisters, you’re probably not going to get up there. But you can see clear to Brownsburg, Indiana. You can also see the entire track.

VIP suites at the exit of Turn 2. This is where the action is. If you’re on the top floor the view is simply breathtaking.

High in the Northwest Vista (Turn 4). Again, an action-packed spot on the track. If you’re in the nest here, you can see the cars from the entry to Turn 3 to the exit of Turn 1.

Tower Terrace suites (inside front-stretch). Infield seats might not always be considered spectacular, but this angle is stunning. Perfect view of pit-in, plus the full realization of the speed. 

High in the Northeast Vista (Turn 3). If you like passing, this is paradise.

In the pits. Most people cruise through the pits before the race, then find their seats. But parking behind one of the top teams during the race gives the full experience. Plus you can glue your eyes to one of their monitors to see any action that you can't catch in-front of you.

With the Alley Cats. In the hours before the race, find a spot with or near the Alley Cats at the entrance to Gasoline Alley – the spots above are ideal – and you'll see cars, drivers and stars.

Tower Terrace (inside pit lane). This is where the fun is! You can get a close-up view of a couple of pit stalls and some crazy neighbors.

Tell us what you think. What’s great about your seats? If you had free access to all areas, where would you go?