Indy 500 campers move into IMS ahead of qualifying


SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Campers are moving into the Motor Speedway and beyond for the first time in two years.

“There are families that come year, over year, over year that camp they don’t stay anywhere else,” says IMS President Doug Boles.

For some of these fans, it’s their first time back on the grounds in two years. At IMS lot 2, camping spots are marked off and socially distanced. As for masks, they are encouraged, but not required in the camping areas. Any fans who come this weekend will have to leave by Monday but will be allowed to return on Thursday. Boles says the break allows them time to clean up ahead of race weekend. So far, the IMS camping lots are nearly sold out unless there are cancellations.

“Fortunately, I made it this year,” laughs John Gilligan who drove here from New Hampshire and is staying in lot 2, “Two years ago I broke down in Lewisburg, Ohio 90 miles away. That’s where my rig stayed, and I took the motorcycle out of the back and drove back and forth.”

American Legion Post 500 is back to serving campers as well. They are allowing race fans to carry over their camping reservations if they weren’t able to make the race last year. Proceeds from camping rentals go toward the legions efforts to help veterans and more than 150 local charities.

“Some people came last May and did tailgating. Some people came last August and tailgated. The rest came this year,” explains American Legion Post 500 Commander Johnette Lawson.

“We lost a year of even seeing our kids a year-and-a-half until everyone had their shots,” says 85-year-old Clay Wallace who is staying at the American Legion lot and seeing his children for the first time since the pandemic hit.

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