Having grown up in the hometown of Indy 500 owner Tony Hulman, I can remember when race day was considered a classy event. The rotogravure section of the Terre Haute newspaper featured pictures of country club socialites in lovely sundresses and seersucker suits with smug smiles on their faces.  They were elite—friends or acquaintances of the famous Tony himself.  It was quite the status symbol to attend the race with a reserved seat in the stands , even though most women found it about as exciting as watching paint dry.  Let’s face it, staring at a racetrack while waiting for a race car to zoom by every so often– for three plus hours–isn’t that entertaining.  A lot of alcohol was needed to get drunk and naked at the Indy 500. 

Those days  of exclusivity are long gone.   Indy 500 is a weekend long party starting with Friday’s Carb Day Concert, where just about anything down and dirty is not only accepted but expected. People can bring their own coolers stuffed with all the alcoholic beverages they could ever consume.  Nakedness among drunken males and females in the crowds barely raises an eyebrow.  Peeing in public is normal behavior, as is passing out drunk under the stands.  So, if you’ve always longed to defy convention, roll in the mud to cool off from 90 degree heat, drink yourself into a stupor, this is your best chance. Just don’t dress up. 


This is not to say that rich people no longer attend the Indy 500. There are lots of celebrities and elegant parties thrown by the sponsors.  In fact, if you’re in town race day weekend , you’ll see glamorous women in lavish ball gowns entering hotels at any time of the day or night.   But it’s mostly a white trash bash.