Related Links:
Spotter's Guide
Shows photos of all the cars in qualifying order, along with
the name of the driver and the car number.  You can find
these  in newspapers and race programs or you can print
your own off this web site - find a link to it
on this page.

Radio or Scanner with Headphones
The P.A. speakers at the track cannot be heard when loud
race cars go by.   It can be difficult to follow the race without
headphones.  Sitting within sight of one of the huge  TV
monitors is helpful though.

Some people take a radio scanner that allows them to scan
all the frequencies used by race teams, the speedway, and
TV channels to communicate.  These scanners are for rent
at the track. (generally priced around $30-40.)  

I try to provide up-to-date frequency lists for those with their
own scanners:

Indy 500 Scanner Frequencies

Brickyard 400 Scanner Frequencies

Stop Watch
The Speedway does a good job keeping you informed of
drivers' speeds so you do not need a stop watch.  However,
I find it fun to time race cars and figure speeds of whomever
I want, whenever I want.  All I need is a speed chart.

Speed Chart
Time a race car on a lap and then use the speed charts to
determine average lap speed.  I have provided links to
speed charts below:

Indycar Speed Chart for Indy 500

Nascar Speed Chart for Brickyard 400
If you park in the infield, you can bring a keg!  But if you'll be
parking outside the track, have some coolers and ice
unless you want to buy beer.  On race day, coolers are
limited to 18" x 14" x 14".  You cannot buy ice inside the
speedway.  Glass containers are NOT allowed, so buy

A Frisbee or Football
Something to play with in the 3rd Turn infield grass.
If you're not Peyton Manning, you might choose a NERF
in case you hit a nearby Corvette or someone's little kid.

A Banner Stating Your Philosophy
Infield grass only.  Banners and flags, as well as air-horns,
are NOT allowed in the stands,

Your Harley-Davidson
You can park in the motorcycle parking, or, haul it down in
the back of your pickup truck!

$100 Sedan
Cut the top off and paint it a checkered flag pattern.  A
good way of getting some attention in case you don't own
a Harley.  You can abandon it after the race, or save it for
next year.

Lawn Chairs / Gondola Tent
If you will be sitting in the infield, definitely take a chair.  
You may need some shade too.

Little Red Wagon
These are good for towing large coolers around, or for
hauling your worn out friend back to the car at the end of
the day!  But don't try walking in with them - must bring in
your car if you can get into the infield.

Charcoal Grill    (no propane!)
Have a picnic on a grassy hill or tailgate by your car.  
Some people even cook breakfast at the track before the
Race Fans Take
Party Crowd Takes
Don't Forget Your Race Tickets & Parking Passes!  Some people hang
theirs around their necks in plastic sleeves.  You will need it at the entry gate
as well as at your grandstand.  
Cell Phone or FM transmitter Stay in contact with the people you came with.  
It is very easy to get separated on crowded race day.
Cash The food courts do not take credit cards.  There are some cash
machines around though.
Seat Cushion  You can buy a foam cushion with a checkered flag design at
the track.  Also, they rent cushion seats with back rests for the stands that
don't have backrests - they are not very good.  The best cushion is a dense
foam one that you can buy at Menards Hardware for $4!
Binoculars  See cars down the stretch.   
Cigarettes/Cigars You can buy smokes at some snack bars
Zippo It is hard to light up at the top of the stands in the wind with a bic. It's
best to have a Zippo!
Camera     Guide to taking Racing Photos
Can Coolie  Keep your drink cold
Sunglasses Check out what the race car drivers wear - they set the style!
Sun-screen & Hat  Depending upon the weather, you may need an
umbrella and a poncho instead
Ear Plugs  These can be purchased at the track for $2.
Coolers  Are restricted on race day to a maximum size of 18" x 14" x 14".  
On race day, expect all bags and coolers and purses to be searched.
Wet Naps  These are handy when you're settled in your seat after you eat
the fried chicken or Cheetos!
Carrying Bag or Backpack  Carry all the stuff, plus a place to put souvenirs.
Comfortable shoes  You'll do a lot of walking as well as go up and down
Asprin, antacid, Contact solution, etc.
Small Towel
 For drying places to sit if it rains. Umbrella or Poncho
Things to Consider Taking to the Track
If you forget something, the Speedway gift shops probably sell it.
Things NOT to bring to the Track
No Pets    You may be able to sneak your pooch in to the infield, but don't try taking it into crowded
            (A few years ago, a dog got out on the track before the start of the 500!)

No Drugs   The police will CART you off to jail.

No Glass Bottles    Glass breaks.  'Nuf said.

No Fireworks or Firearms

No Propane Tanks

No skateboards, skates, golf carts or other fun modes of transport.  
(Note:  Beginning in 2016, you can ride your bicycle to the track and enter through vehicle entrance,
           but you cannot ride them through the vehicle tunnel to the infield.  Nor can you enter with the
           bicycle through pedestrian gates.

No Drones
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Over the years I have found some specific items that are handy and that help make my time at the track comfortable.
Perhaps you will find some useful ideas below.


When I go to the track, I like to party and eat, but I also need to take photos.  I do not use smart phones by the way.
I also want the lightest and easiest load.  I also do not take a family; I pack just for myself.

A common problem is that I'll be walking around with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, when suddenly I
need to take a photo.

The supplies I need also varies by what day I go, how long I plan to be there, where I park and where I plan to sit.

For instance, if I'm going for just a few hours to attend a practice, I may not need anything more than my camera,
stop watch and tobacco.  When attending a road race, I might want to sit on one of the viewing hills where a lawn chair

For use on the viewing hills.

Usually the only people at the track with lawn chairs are the ones who get there early
enough to grab a spot along the top of a hill.

If you've read
my photo journals, you know I never get there early enough for that.  
I also detest sitting on the ground.

I found a chair that allows you to sit on a hill!

I recommend the GCI Outdoor Everywhere Chair.  It has adjustable straps that allows
you to arrange the chair for different grades of incline.

It is also handy at outdoor concerts where you sit on a grassy hill.
However, if you prefer soft-sided coolers, I recommend this Thermos cooler because
it has a lid on top that easily opens so  you can grab a beer without having to unzip
the lid every time.  

It also has a zippered external pocket for storage and comes with a strap.

It is also small enough to take into the stands on race day.

Note: If you don't mind waiting in lines, going back and forth to concession stands,
spending money and are not picky about your beer, then just buy your food and drink
at the track and you can forget about having to deal with coolers!

I have a
large cooler that I leave in the trunk for refilling smaller cooler or for tailgating.
It has wheels and a handle.
If I am parked close to the Carb Day concert, I'll bring it along to serve as a chair or a
platform to stand on.  

If you are going to bring a cooler, get one with wheels and a handle!

The Coleman 16-quart Personal Wheeled Cooler is small enough to use at your seat
on race day.

The handle retracts.  What it lacks is a handle for carrying it up the stairs.  

It was easy to attack a rope handle to this cooler.   
Cooler Modification Instructions
Specific Items I Use

People often use backpacks for carrying their gear.
I don't like them.  They're bigger than I need, hard to put on and you have to take it
off each time you need something out of it.

I have found that a fanny pack works for me.

I recommend getting one that has several zippered pockets.

I found a couple of fanny packs that can hold a "water bottle" on the side.

I chose the Engyen Waist Bag.  It has a stretchy material on either side to hold a
"water bottle" along wtih a strap that you can tighten the bottle down with.

My purpose was simply to have a place to set my open beer when I need to snap
a photo.  A pint can fits in this brand's holder and seems secure.

It also comes with a shoulder strap.


If you have a large, heavy camera, or one with a long lens, as I do, the choices for
carrying it has been either to strap it's case to your belt and wear it on your side,
or use the neck strap and hang it around your neck.  I think both of these methods
are clumsy and annoying!

I now use the Skout sling-style harness, made by Cotton Carrier.

It holds the camera securely to your chest.  It does not bounce around or get in my
way.  The camera can be easily and quickly removed or attached using just one

It is adjustable to fit all sizes of people.

I now have no reason not to take my big camera to the track or on a motorcycle trip.

Cotton Carrier makes a Skout to hold binoculars as well as larger harnesses for
people who need to carry two large cameras.