News & Multimedia

Blue Envelopes, Bronze Badges On the Way! Ticket Mailing Starts for 104th Indy 500

Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge fans soon will see the most anticipated color of late winter – light blue – in their mailboxes, yet another sign the magical Month of May is just around the corner.

The initial ticket mailing, sent in the famous light-blue envelopes from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office, started today for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24. In a new addition to the time-honored tradition, Bronze Badges also were mailed to customers today.

Federal postal inspectors come to IMS with a large truck for the first mailing, and many IMS employees pitch in to help load the truck Wednesday, including IMS President J. Douglas Boles.

It takes approximately nine weeks to package all pre-ordered tickets for mailing, from orders the day after the previous year’s race up to current orders. Hard work from employees in the Ticket Office and other IMS and IMS Productions departments ensure the ticketing process runs smoothly and on schedule.

A few facts and figures about this year’s initial ticket mailing:

  •  Number of tickets sent: More than 150,000 Race Day tickets and more than 180,000 products (includes Race Day tickets, parking, concert tickets, etc.)
  •  Number of blue envelopes sent: More than 26,000
  •  Number of U.S. Postal Service trays to accommodate envelopes: More than 550
  •  Weight of all ticket envelopes and trays in first mailing: More than 8,250 pounds
  •  Hours needed to fill envelopes by hand: More than 800 person-hours
  •  Number of IMS employees who fill envelopes: 38

Approximately 1,200 packages containing approximately 2,000 Bronze Badges also began to be mailed today. Bronze Badges have become coveted keepsakes that grant fans access to the Gasoline Alley garage area every day during the Month of May except for Race Days for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and GMR Grand Prix.

Receiving an eagerly awaited blue envelope in the mail is a rite of spring for thousands of fans of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” But why are the envelopes blue?

In the 1970s, Indianapolis 500 tickets were mailed in brown envelopes with the IMS return address in the upper left corner. In the 1980s, a heavier-stock, gray-colored envelope was introduced to mail the tickets, with just the IMS Post Office box number in the upper left corner. A computerized printer also was used for the first time in the 1980s to print ticket customers’ name and address on each envelope.

When the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard was added to the IMS schedule in 1994, the Ticket Office needed a way to distinguish between the envelopes containing tickets for the Indianapolis 500 and the annual NASCAR race, especially if the Postal Service returned the envelope as non-deliverable.

So, the IMS Ticket Office decided to color-code the ticket envelopes for each event. Indianapolis 500 ticket envelopes became blue, Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard envelopes became purple, GMR Grand Prix envelopes became green, and ticket envelopes for other IMS events use a variety of colors, including red, cream, gray and yellow.

Tickets for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24, the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 9 and all other Month of May events are available at or the IMS Ticket Office at 317-492-6700.

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