Countdown to race day: Things to do before the Indy 500

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A grand shot of the action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Indianapolis 500. (Photo/David Dixon)
A grand shot of the action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Indianapolis 500. (Photo/David Dixon)

The countdown to race day is almost up, but there is still plenty of Indy 500-themed events, festivities and porch parties going on around town to check out this weekend!

To make things easier on our beloved Indy 500 fans, the Recorder has compiled a list of a few things to tune into before the green flag drops on May 28.

Friday, May 24

The American Legion 500 Memorial Service 

Indiana War Memorial

Noon

Free

Every year, just before the Indy 500, a memorial service is held in honor of those who died while serving in the armed forces. The service will feature keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, posting of colors by the Military Department of Indiana’s Joint Service Color Guard, and live performances by Capital City Chorus and Indiana National Guard’s 38th Infantry Division Band.

500festival.com

Miller Lite Carb Day

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th St.

8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

$45; free for children under 15

Miller Lite Carb Day, short for “carburetion day,” is described as a “high octane” party and concert on the track in celebration of the final practice session before the race. This year’s celebration includes musical acts Gin Blossoms, Kid Quill and headliner George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

indianapolismotorspeedway.com

Rockin’ on Main

Between 14th & 16th Streets, Speedway, IN

5-8 p.m.

Free

Presented by the Town of Speedway, Rockin’ on Main is an annual tradition highlighting more than 40 pop-up shops ranging from local artists, crafters, food trucks, boutique owners and racing themed merch.

speedwayin.gov

Saturday, May 25

2024 AES 500 Festival Parade

E. North Street and N. Pennsylvania Street, Downtown Indianapolis

11:45 a.m.

$25-$45

Featuring a variety of giant floats and balloons, celebrity guest appearances, bands and all 33 competing drivers, the 2024 AES 500 Festival Parade is one of the largest in the country. The parade kicks off at noon with Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings as Grand Marshal.

500festival.com/parade

Firestone Legends Day Concert 

TCU Amphitheatre, White River State Park, 801 W. Washington St.

7-11 p.m.

Tickets start at $67.20

The Legends Day Concert is always a huge part of the countdown to race day. This year, country music star Riley Green will headline the 2024 Firestone Legends Day Concert alongside guest artists Zach Top and Tenille Townes with sets from Boot Scoot USA and DJ John Stamps.

whiteriverstatepark.org

Legends Day

Pagoda Plaza, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th St.

8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

$20

An Indy 500 tradition, Legends Day celebrates the history of racing and previous winners with a concert celebration, full-field autograph session and meet and greet with all 33 NTT IndyCar series drivers.

indianapolismotorspeedway.com

Sunday, May 26

2024 Bike to the 500

The AMP at 16 Tech, 1220 Waterway Blvd

6-10 a.m.

$15-$30; free for children 15 and under

Bike to the 500 — presented by Gainbridge in collaboration with IMS, Bike Indianapolis and IU Health Momentum Indy — is an alternative way to commute to the track on race day. The commute begins at The AMP with a police escort to the track where cyclists can park their bike outside Gate 1.

indianapolismotorspeedway.com

Indianapolis 500 Snake Pit

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th St.

7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

$135 (includes Race Day GA and Snake Pit GA)

Known as the “Ultimate Motorsports Party,” the Snake Pit’s pre-race concert takes place in the third turn infield and features a full line up of live EDM acts such as Excision, Dom Dolla, Gryffin, Sullivan King and Timmy Trumpet.

indianapolismotorspeedway.com

108th Running of the Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th St.

6 a.m.

$75-$145

Doors open at 6 a.m. for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Stars of the new film “Bikeriders” Austin Butler and Jodie Comer will serve as honorary starters and drop the green flag for the 108th annual Indy 500 at 12:45 p.m.

indianapolismotorspeedway.com

Contact Arts & Culture writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848. Follow her on X @chloe_mcgowanxx.