First Things First :
I feel there is no such thing as bad seat at the
giant Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). I always have a
great time no matter where I sit. So, if you cannot find the
seats you want, don't let that discourage you from attending.
Of course some seats are better than others, and naturally
they cost more.
Seats have different good points and bad points.
Not only are there stands around the outside of the track,
there are stands along the inside as well.
In addition, there are grassy hills in the infield where you
can watch the race with just a general admission ticket.
You cannot see the entire track from any seat. About
the best you can do is see half.
Passing usually happens toward the end of a straight.
|General Tips on Choosing Seats
|This was taken in 2004 when I was in 2nd row from the top of Stand E.
(It rained that day so it was nice having a roof.)
NOTE: The Penthouse Level was rebuilt for 2016 and these
obstructions may be gone now.
Sitting along a Straight presents 2 Problems:
1) The fence post blend into a wall as you look
down the stretch.
2) Many people tend to lean forward which
causes everyone else to have to lean forward to
see. You will want to watch the cars coming and
going - staring straight ahead results in watching
blurs go past.
However, to best see the festivities, the pit stops
and winner's circle, sit along the main straight
close to the pagoda tower.
Best Views of the Pits is the Tower Terrace, Pit
Road Terrace, Paddock and Stand A.
Tickets around these areas will give you the best view:
4th Turn - Stand J, section 30 best
NW Vista, section 1 best
Tower Terrace, section 79, seat 10 (for F1 race)
3rd Turn - NE Vista, sections - 12-13 best
1st Turn - Stand E or Penthouse E - sections 1-7 best
and Stand B - sections 22-25 best
2nd Turn - SE Vista, sections 20-30 best
|Sweet Spots in the Corners
Notes on Tower Terrace:
If you sit up high in Sections 37-40, the pagoda
tower will block your view of the south half of the main
If you sit at the far end of the Tower terrace, Section
79, seat 10 (last seat), you will have an unobstructed
view of the north end of the track as well a good view
of the main straight. If you sit in the top row, you can
see the infield behind the tower terrace.
The tower terrace is one of the stands that have
You can see some of the pits from the tower terrace.
Paddock Seats that stradle the Finish Line:
Paddock Boxes 22 - 23
Paddock Section 11
Paddock Penthouse Boxes 14-15
Paddock Penthouse Pressbox Box 1
Looking Straight ahead
Looking Right, can see turns 3 & 4
Here are some 3rd Turn photos from 1998.
I was sitting near the top of Section 12 of
the NE Vista. - a definite "Sweet Spot" as
you can see half the track.
... More Seating Info...
TIPS FOR CHOOSING SEATS
Get a seat with a backrest.
Not only is it more comfortable, it offers a boundry from
the people sitting in front of you.
Stands with Backrests:
Penthouses (stadium chairs)
The Paddock (Sections, not Boxes)
You can also rent seat cushions at the track that come
with backrests! Once the race is over, you just leave
Have a good view of a TV monitor
There are huge TVs scattered around the speedway and
most seats have a view of one or more. It is very difficult
to follow a race if you cannot see a scoring tower or a TV.
People with this problem are usually those sitting on a
viewing hill in the infield.
Note: The Jumbotrons were replaced in 2015 with bigger
and brighter high-definition LED HD networked video
|Looking Left, can see all the way down to Turn 2
There are other electronic displays to help
you follow the position of the drivers:
It is also easier to follow a race if you can see a lot of the
Here are ways to see more of the track:
Sit in the corners
Outside corners provide the widest view of the track.
If you are sitting in the sweet spot of a corner, and the
sweet spot is very large at IMS, then you will see down the
entire straightawy, a corner, the short chute, and another
Also, most crashes occur when a car is exiting a corner.
Generally, you want your seats as high as you can get
for the widest view.
Most seats have a fence between your eyes and the race
cars. Sitting high in some areas allow you to see over the
catch fence, which is nice, especially for your photos.
If you are sitting very low in an area where cars drive
close to the wall, the wall may obstruct your view of the
cars when they pass.
Top Row - One of the nicest things about getting top
row is that you can stand up and lean against the fence
without blocking anyone's view! You will be more
susceptible to the wind which can be a good thing on a
hot day, and normally it's going to be hot.
Note: Sitting high does not apply to the Penthouse level.
Instead, the front rows have the best view, especially row
A. These seats provide an unobstructed view of the track
as no one is in front of you.
Note: Most stands' rows begin at A, go up to Z, then
begin with AA, BB, etc. Typically the top row is around
RR. (44 rows) Use my seating guide to see how many
rows a stand has.
Negatives to sitting high:
When you sit low, you are closer to the track. The closer
you are, the louder and more exciting it is when cars go
If your legs are tired or you get up a lot to go down to the
restrooms and snack bars, then you may not want to
keep climbing the stairs back to your seat way up high.
Note: The Penthouses now have elevators to take you up
to their level. There are also food vendors and rest
rooms up there.
Note: The penthouses, other than E, were rebuilt in 2016
and a new upper deck has been added. Some of those
seats in Penthouse B, that are close to Penthouse E,
have their view of Turn 1 blocked by the roof of E
Penthouse. There are also a lot of support beams in
your way. To completely avoid these beams, you need
to sit in row F or lower.
For stands that have a penthouse above, support
beams can obstruct your view.
There are camera cages hanging above Stand E and if
you sit near the top, they can block your view.
Sit under a roof.
Get a seat with a roof to protect you from the sun or rain.
The Penthouse seats have roofs. Also the Penthouse
level serves as a roof for the stands below them.
Stands that have Penthouse levels include Stand B,
Stand A, the Paddock and most of Stand E.
Also, if you happen to get top row in stands that have a
deck, the deck may shade you from rain and sun.
Suites offer these benefits:
Many suites are up high and have elevator access.
Suites have catered food and beverages.
Suites have air conditioning inside as well as seats
Garage and Pit Passes are available.
For most suites, you have to be invited to get in, or rent
one if you have big money. Beginning in 2016, the
Hulman Suites were updated and turned into suites for
the individual who pays $1,750 for a year's access.
There are suites all along the top of the Tower Terrace,
the top of the F1 garages and atop Stand C. There are
suites in the pagoda tower too.
There is a hotel suite on the outside of Turn 2 and frankly,
I found it the best seat in the house! Sitting on the
balcony of a 3rd floor room that practically hangs over
the track offered an fantastic view of the race cars!
There are also suites in the Tower pavilion and behind the
Sit in the Deck
There is a 2-row set of bleachers 10 feet above the top of
some stands. They are as expensive as the Penthouse
seats. They offer an unobstructed view, but have no
protection from the elements. If you are in row B, you can
stand and lean against the fencing.
Stands with Decks:
Do not Face the Sun
Depending upon the weather, it is often better to be
facing east or north instead of west or south to avoid the
sun shining in your face.
Try to park nearest the entrance to your seats
You will likely be able to walk out faster if your seats are
located on the outside of the oval.
There are digital readouts along the roof
of the paddock.
On the inside of the Short Chutes are another type
of scoring pylon.
There is the scoring pylon on the Main
Straight north of the Start/Finish Line.
It was replaced in 2014 with a better one
that is powered by thousands of LEDs.
Location of high-definition LED networked video boards
The fencing is for safety of the spectators during the race.
Debris from a crash on the track could cause serious personal
injury to spectators, which unfortunately happened at a race at
Talladega in 2009. This incident caused fans and NASCAR to
consider the legal liabilities for spectator injuries just like a
Harrington Law attorney would..
|Where to Sit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway