First Things First :
1) People often worry about getting good seats at the
giant Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). I'm here to tell
you that there are no bad seats. I always have a great
time no matter where I sit. Seats have different good
points and bad points. So, if you don't get the seats you
want, don't let that discourage you from attending!
2) Not only are there stands around the outside of the
2.5-mile oval, there are stands on 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.
3) You cannot see the entire track from any seat. About
the best you can do is see half. Even then, the track is so
large that even if you can see all the way down a straight,
it doesn't do you much good as the other end is so far
4) 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...
|Where to Sit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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:
The Paddock Sections but not the Paddock Boxes
The Tower Terrace
You can also rent seat cushions at the track that come
with backrests! Once the race is over, you just leave
Note: Part of Stand B has folding chairs.
Have a good view of a TV monitor
There are huge TVs scattered around the speedway.
They are viewable from 98% of all seats.
The Jumbotrons were replaced in 2015 with bigger and
brighter high-definition LED HD networked video boards.
|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:
I think that the more track you see, the easier it is to follow
Sit in the corners
Outside corners provide the widest view of the track.
Sitting at the exit of a corner, especially turns 2 & 4, the
cars are moving at their slowest. Sitting down at the end
of one of the straights, the cars are moving their fastest.
Also, most crashes occur around the corners.
Generally, you want your seats as high as you can get
them for the best view. If you are sitting really low, the
wall may obstruct your view of the cars as they go by. If you
are lucky, you can see over the catch fence.
Top row is even better.
One of the nicest things about getting top row is that you
can stand up and lean against the fence through the whole
race without blocking anyone's view! It's also more polite
to smoke from that vantage point. 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.
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
Cons to sitting high:
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.
Note: There is a big climb to get to the Penthouses.
There are open stairwells on the outside of the stands
that you must climb to reach any of the Penthouses. It is
kind of scary if you're uncomfortable with heights. Some
people refuse to climb them. It can also be a workout if
you've been carrying heavy coolers. If you are blind,
feeble, have weak knees or heart trouble, I suggest not
buying Penthouse seats. In fact I would say that if there is
any chance of you having a medical problem, that you do
not sit up there as I would imagine that it would be tricky
getting you down to the ground and to an ambulance.
(This may change in 2014 as IMS has been making
enhancements for the disabled. I'm hoping elevators will
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
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.
Sit in a suite
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 $1750 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 south instead of north or west 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