The 54th annual SCCA® National Championship Runoffs are right around the corner. A couple thousand drivers and crew will be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), as well as several hundred dedicated workers. And with three amazing days of racing anticipated, you should be there, too.
How do you get to IMS? If you’re a racecar driver; practice, practice, practice … and meeting the Runoffs qualification criteria. But for spectators, all you’ve got to do is buy a ticket -- which is a lot easier than the effort racecar drivers went through to qualify for the event. There are two spectator ticket options for the Runoffs this year, and passes are purchased through the Speedway’s website.
Four-day admission passes, providing access Thursday, Sept. 28, through Sunday, Oct. 1, can be purchased for $60 per person. Single-day admission for Thursday is $15, and single-day passes are $25 for Friday, Saturday or Sunday. General admission offers access to spectator mounds around the 15-turn, 2.592-mile road course previously utilized by Formula One for the U.S. Grand Prix and currently used by the Verizon IndyCar Series for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. General admission also provides access to Paddock and Tower Terrace grandstands, as well as the paddock itself to gaze upon the hundreds or gorgeous racecars at the venue that weekend.
Terrace Suite Club passes are also available for the event, which provide entry to a suite in Tower Terrace with views of the Main Straightaway. The back balcony provides infield views and a picturesque view of the Indianapolis skyline. A cash bar will be available in the suite and light snacks supplied each day. Four-day Club passes, providing access Thursday through Sunday, can be purchased for $225 per person. Single-day Club passes are $75 for Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
Need a place to rest your head at the end of each exciting day? SCCA has reserved hotel room blocks totaling more than 1,260 rooms at 40 hotels close to the Speedway. Special group rates have been negotiated at these properties and are available up to Sept. 1 to SCCA Members. Reserve these special negotiated rates as soon as possible by contacting properties directly by phone and mentioning you are part of the SCCA 2017 Runoffs Group. A list of participating hotels can be found online.
Don’t want to stay in a fancy-schmancy hotel? Well, plenty of camping opportunities abound near the racing venue. The Speedway has made available a large space for overnight stays in a lot just outside the circuit. Reserve a spot online for a fee, or contact the Speedway directly at email@example.com with questions. And below is a list of other camping locations positioned directly across from the track on the west side of Georgetown Road. Some of these sites offer bathroom facilities, showers, hookups for RVs, and laundry services.
- Wilcox Mobile Home Park,1826 Georgetown Rd.
- El Lou Mobile Home Park, 1708 Georgetown Rd.
So, you’ve got your tickets and a place to sleep. But what about parking? Plenty of parking will be available outside the track for a fee. Gates open at 7:30 a.m. each day, and once inside there will be shuttles to transport spectators from one vantage point to the next.
Now, what is there to do at the track? Well, for one, there will be fantastic racing from 28 car classes. Grab some grub and a beverage from concessions and simply enjoy what many consider to be the best three days of racing anywhere in the world. You can also immerse yourself in the glory of the legendary venue and think about all the famous drivers from around the world who competed there, and all the historic moments that occurred at that hallowed ground. For those who haven’t been to Indianapolis Motor Speedway before, it’s grandeur can’t be conveyed on TV broadcasts. It’s gigantic. It’s immense. It’s jaw-dropping. It’s really, really big. And you can be there with thousands of other motor racing fans to share the experience, bathe in the spectacle, and just have four fantastic days.
If that’s not enough, the world-renown Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum rests in the infield and houses race cars from many series, including IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One, Sprint, Midget, motorcycle races, and drag racing. The collection encompasses motorcycles, dragsters, cars and other vehicles that have set world land speed records at various points in history. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for youngsters 6 to 15 years old, and children 5 years old and younger can enter for free.
Spectators attending the Runoffs can even get out on the track! The second annual SCCA® Runoffs 5K and Checkered Flag Dash happens Saturday evening, Sept. 30, and will take place on a portion of the IMS road course. The green flag will be waved at 6:30 p.m., sending runners on a 3.1-mile quest for the checkers. A one-mile Checkered Flag Dash fun run will precede the 5K at 6:00 p.m. Online registration is now open, and discounts are available for teams of three or more. In support of September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness month, all proceeds from the event will benefit Maxton’s Fight and Riley Children’s Health, located in Indianapolis. And as part of the SCCA® Runoffs 5K, there will be a raffle for a free ride in the two-seater IndyCar! Courtesy of the Indy Racing Experience, the lucky winner will get to experience the ride of a lifetime at any of the IRE's dates/locations in 2018, including the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Tickets are $25/each or 5 for $100 and can be purchased online. The drawing will be held after the SCCA Runoffs 5K, and winners DO NOT need to be present to win. However, you must be 18 years of age to participate in the Indy Racing Experience. Please contact 5K Race Director Jason Stine at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Beyond the track, Indianapolis is a vibrant city with lots to do and see. If you’re in need of ideas for other activities or places to eat, check out www.VisitIndy.com.
The 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs will be memorable. But if you’re not there, you’ll have no memories from it. So, make plans NOW to be in Indianapolis Sept. 28-Oct. 1 for the Runoff’s first ever visit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We won’t say you’ll regret it if you’re not there, but you probably will.
Photo Courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway