Fans arrive weeks ahead of centennial Indy 500 race

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – To mark the 100th running of the Indy 500, some die-hard race fans arrived weeks in advance.

The action inside Indianapolis Motor Speedway was fast and loud Monday. It was the last chance for people to get a glimpse of the cars until Friday.

The lack of public events isn’t stopping the RVs from arriving. “Actually, we had a couple of people here in April, about the middle of April,” American Legion Speedway Post Club Room Manager David Wilson said.

For some, getting to the track weeks in advance is an annual tradition. “It’s just a wonderful opportunity to meet people and the race is a real, fine adder,” Ozzie Osborne said.

However, not everyone is a veteran when it comes to spending weeks camped out ahead of the race. Ed Spies and his wife have always wanted to do this.

“It’s pretty much been a bucket list item my whole life,” Spies said. “And the 100th running… I decided it was time to come.”

They’re not the only ones. Nick Walters has always come to Indy with his dad well before the race.

“It’s been a bonding experience, and it’s been by far our favorite place in the world,” Walters said. “It’s not a few people coming out early, people who run the RV lot at the American Legion said the number of campers already there is something they’ve never experienced.

“There are a lot more people that have come and they’ve set up the first of May and they’re being here the whole month of May,” Wilson said.

With so much time before the race, each fan says they have their own way to pass the time.

“We have a couple bubbles on occasion, and a little camp fire now and then, and just kick here back,” Osborne said.

“Last night we went to Kokomo Speedway for a sprint car race,” Walters said. “The night before that we went to the Speedrome to watch a midget race.”

Although it could be another 100 years before the next centennial race, some fans say they’ll find other reasons to visit Indy early. “Oh yeah, we’ll come back again. I’m sure of it,” Spies said.

If you’re looking to camp out at the American Legion, you’re out of luck. The spots have been sold for five months, also something officials said never happens. The speedway will open to the fans again Thursday, with Indy Cars returning Friday.

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