Counting Down the Days
The countdown is now on for the 2017 IndyCar season, and that means one thing: it’s time to start planning your summer travels to Indianapolis, Indiana. You may have heard of it, as it’s quite a popular location. Folks there like their cars and their football, and it seems to go hand-in-hand. (We’re pretty sure football wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the automobile industry. And vice versa.)
But how far is this ‘American Riviera’ as some have called it? And what is its official distance? Let’s take a look, shall we?
The Track Is In A ‘Private’ Country Club District
First off, the track is in a private country club district, which makes it a bit difficult to find. Unless you know where to look. The best way to discover this gem is to arrive early and find a parking spot. (There are a limited number of spots, so you may have to settle for far away from the entrance.)
Once you’re inside, prepare to be wowed. The track is gorgeous, the stands are impressive, and the whole atmosphere is just downright American. It’s an homage to the sport’s roots and a celebration of all things quintessentially ‘American’. (And that includes the hot dogs and cheese curds, of course.)
There are a number of restaurants and food trucks on site, and you’re sure to find something that appeals to your taste buds. Stroll around the grounds after the race and you’ll discover plenty of little luxuries such as benches, picnic tables, and even fireplaces for those crisp October afternoons. (Or perhaps not. We’re starting to sweat just thinking about it.)
The organizers of the track, the IndyCar Series, put out a formal invitation to all the IndyCar fans, and we have to admit…we were more than a bit stunned by the sheer volume of responses. (The tally was in the thousands, on Twitter alone.)
The track is certainly exclusive, with a membership restricted to well-heeled individuals and organizations. (It runs in the mid- to high hundreds.) But for the love of cars, racing, and Americana, we’re certain many of you will be more than welcome.
25 Miles To The Start/Finish Line
The closest major city to the IndyCar Track is Chicago, which is about 50 miles away, (or 80 km for those metric folks out there.) You’ll have to head north on I-355 North to get there. (The fastest route would be I-90, but then you’d have to come back south on I-355 for the finish line.)
The track is situated on a small island in the middle of a lake. If you come from the south, you’ll first encounter the lake on your right. It’s quite a breathtaking sight, with large trees lining its shores and gorgeous homes dotting the areas surrounding it. (If you don’t own a boat, there’s a pretty good chance you can rent one nearby.)
North of the lake you’ll find the track, nestled among the rolling hills of the golf course. We won’t bother you with any more details, as you’ll most likely already know most of them. (You can find a map and get familiar with the track on the series website.)
12-Bite Power Snack
While you’re there, be sure to try the 12-bite power snack. Weighing in at a scant 2.2 oz (60 grams), this modest snack is as close to the perfect blend of salty and sweet as it gets. (And according to a couple of the reviewers, it even beats out the 22-bite bar.)
We don’t know about you, but we’re always looking for snacks that are easy to haul around in a bag. Especially if we’re going to be somewhere for a while, and we know we’re going to crave something sweet. (What if there was a way to combine the two? Imagine how amazing that would be….)
This particular snack is made by Reuben’s famous hot dog bakery, and it’s been a long time coming. Back in 1999, the company was bought out by a Swiss company called Nestlé, who had the intention of closing the bakery down. (It was originally started by a Reuben Brand, who sold it to Swiss company before it became famous for its hot dogs.)
Nestlé decided to keep the brand alive, and for whatever reason, they decided to close down the Chicago location. (The others were still up and running, and still make a wide array of delicious breads, pastries, pies, and other baked goods. So if you ever find yourself in one of their shops, you know what products they make.)
But now, Reuben’s hot dog bakery is back in business. And it turns out, they still make all their famous snacks, (with some additions of their own.) So if you ever find yourself in Chicago, be sure to check out their hot dog stands. (Or, if you’re visiting another city, be sure to check out their website to see if they are available there. Otherwise, you may have to settle for a mediocre hot dog somewhere else.)
The Crowds Are So Photogenic
If you ever wondered what it’s like to be at a sporting event and have the prime parking spot, the jumbo TV screens, and the luxury suites not to mention the luxury boxes all to yourself…well, wonder no more. (Unless you’re at a Wimmera Cup race in Australia, in which case you’ll never know what it’s like to be alone in a crowd of people and a stadium the size of a small city.)
You’ll notice many of the grandstands are surrounded by a fence. Indeed, the entire track is fenced in, as there are some dangerous animals (such as deer and coyotes) that may roam the area. (Though we’re told the track is frequented by some pretty big cats as well, such as mountain lions and jaguars. (Which is lucky for us, because we love big cats.))
There are a number of dangerous animals living in and around the track. Though, the fenced in area keeps them out of harm’s way, it also keeps the people in. The organizers don’t want anyone to get hurt, so for the safety of everyone, they’ve installed closed circuit cameras and motion sensors at the entrances and exits. (Though it’s likely these animals have been a part of track life for so long they wouldn’t even notice the change.)
The Weather Is Perfect All Year Round
Not only does the IndyCar track stay open all year round, but the weather is perfect. Though it gets chilly at night, the daytime temperatures make for some pretty comfortable driving conditions.
It doesn’t rain a lot there, either. Though it does thunderstorm frequently enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. (Lightning is a serious hazard on the track – it strikes nearly every day during a race.)
The track is located in the middle of a lake, which adds a certain charm to the region. Few other major sporting venues are located on bodies of water. Though it doesn’t look like it from the outside, the track is actually surrounded by water on three sides. Thus, the weather is perfect all year round.
We won’t lie…we’re pretty excited about this ‘summer vacation’ planned for the IndyCar track. Though we’ll miss the smell of exhaust and the sound of tires screeching across metal. (And let’s face facts: without the hustle and bustle of the city, we’re sure to get a little lazy. Though we’re sure to enjoy ourselves once we get there.)