Indy 500, Little 500, Broadripple: Bawdy Tales of Indianapolis Racing Weekend Hijinks

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indianapolis motor speedway

A decade ago, I attended my first Indy 500, and it was in the infield.

My people watching that day became an essay which is among the site’s most popular posts of all time. A decade later, I returned to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, ready once again to regale you with tales of auto racing’s zaniest fans, on racing’s biggest weekend.

This time we added two more settings- the Little 500 in Anderson (about an hour from the speedway) and Broadripple, the neighborhood boasting the hippest nightlife in all of nap town.

Friday night, Little 500, Anderson

 The “Little 500” is a 500-lap bullring asphalt sprint car race held the night before the Indy 500. It is a completely different event from the bicycle race held annually during the third weekend of April on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. (If you’re old enough to remember the ’80s, and have seen the film Breaking Away, then you know all about this)

The event highlights the calendar in Anderson, a blue collar town which has definitely seen much much better days.

anderson speedway tony stewart

The city, located about an hour northeast of Indianapolis, had a population of 70,000 in 1970, but it’s down to about 56,000 today. For a little more on the speedway, the town itself, and a Roger & Me style documentary on urban blight, and the decline of the rust belt, see the documentary Dirty Driving: Thundercars of Indiana.

There’s a message painted on a building adjacent to the track, it reads:

“Let’s All Work Together to get Anderson Growing Together”

anderson little 500

Next to that building is VIP Showcase, which is a strip club and probably Anderson’s answer to Speedway, Indiana’s Classy Chassis. On the other side is a collision center that is adorned with statues of dinosaurs and giraffes for some reason.

Further down is a bar, which doesn’t seem to be open tonight, even though this would, in theory at least, be its most successful night of the year.

All of these local small businesses surround a speedway that honestly, doesn’t have a true main entrance. It’s a bit odd in that way- there’s really no front door. It’s also difficult to find the venue marquee at first, and if you’ve seen the aforementioned documentary you would half expect it to not even be standing upright by this point.

We never make it inside the track, but have a great view, and experience as we traverse the perimeter and parking lots.

Thousands of people wanting tickets got turned away long before we even showed up. The draw is Tony Stewart, a well known former NASCAR brand and someone who once accidentally ran over a guy on a racetrack.

You can easily see why tickets were in such a high demand this year, although the Little 500 does sell out every May. We don’t get to see “Smoke” race, but we do see confederate flag cup holders on motorcycles and at least one “America: FUCK YEAH!” t-shirt.

anderson america

It’s similar to the trailer pictured above. We also watch the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile leave, because apparently it’s got other things to do tonight, and as it turns out, so do we.

Broadripple

We spot the Weiner Mobile again on Broadripple Avenue, but in between the two sightings we have a major misadventure at the hotel. Upon checking in to the Extended Stay America, the front desk woman literally says, “There are two, now how I can put this delicately? Two men? in the same room?!”

Yes, the anti-LGBT sentiment in this state, even in the capital and most diverse city, is still quite strong. Former Governor Mike Pence and his anti-alternative lifestyle policy agenda may have moved on to Washington, but the adverse consequences of the state’s religious freedom law continues to cast an ugly shadow over the crossroads of America today.

mike pence

There were actually three of us staying in that room, and two of us three men are married with five kids between them (I’m the lone immoral, non-married hedonist).

Also, there was nothing metrosexual at all about our appearances. One of us was wearing a STP oil shirt and the other a faded Kentucky Wildcats tee. We have a lot of fun laughing at this ridiculously bigoted hotel employee as the night continues, making it a running joke. We quickly move on to Broadripple, the only place I’ve ever actually “partied” or experienced genuine “nightlife” in all of my trips to Indianapolis.

It’s called nap town for a reason.

broadripple

Downtown is nothing but one giant convention center apparatus, and various degrees of Marriott interconnected by skyways.

There are a few soulless chain restaurants and one serviceable shopping mall interspersed among all the cookie cutter edifices.

In Broadripple, located adjacent to Butler University, it’s a complete 180.

Because it’s the first weekend of summer, it feels like spring break in the streets. It’s a real neighborhood, and after visiting the circle city to cover six B1G football title games, eight B1G tournaments and two Indy 500s, this is the first time I’ve legitimately ever “gone out” here.

butler logo

It’s historical, too.

You can see where noted pedophile Jared Fogle used to live; right above a Subway. The reason he went to Subway so much was that he needed a public, neutral location to rent out his collection of pornographic videos to his various clients. Because of his girth, he didn’t want to walk very far.

Local sources also tell me of his often parking himself at the front bar of Landshark on Broadripple Avenue.

indy broadripple

I’m told he would just sit there and leave big stacks of money on the table trying to lure…hey, at least these people would actually be fully grown adults.

There’s also Broadripple’s most famous product, Rosey Colvin, who played defensive line at Purdue and then with the Chicago Bears. He owns the joint on the avenue which delivers cookies to your domicile as late at 3 a.m.

You can also see the former site of Jermaine O’Neal’s club. The former Indiana Pacer had no chairs in his club, only beds and couches because hey, why not?!

indy-500

Indy 500 Pit Stop

During our adventuresome road trip, we did have to act as our very own pit crew.

One of my tires was low and we had to work as a team in order to fill them all in time and prevent being charged for more air. We worked as a trio. I was on the inflation hose, my buddy was on the valve caps, and our third friend watched the PSI level monitor.

indy 500

Indy 500 Raceday

We only saw one “Make America Great Again” hat- shocking. Yet we see two “Reagan/Bush ’84” tees.

We also see a bunch of idiots with signs holding white pages with black numbers 1-10 printed on them. These losers use these signs to, well let your imagination regarding sexism run wild and that’s exactly what was there. At almost the same time, probably not a coincidence either, a shirtless meathead comes up to me and says:

“I lost my girlfriend, can I come fuck chicks with you guys?”

My response was, “You mean right here?” and “You mean all of us? At the same time?”

Interesting; last night we were deemed homosexual, this morning we’re now cast as extremely out-of-control horny heterosexuals; who might also be bisexual swingers at the same time. This chap found his girlfriend before he was able to give me a legitimate worthwhile response to my one-liner. However, I really wouldn’t be surprised if he “loses” her for good soon, and very likely by the next Indy 500.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. Banks, a former writer for the Washington TimesNBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes to WGN CLTV and KOZN

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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