Monday, May 13, 2013

Field of 33 - Best Seats at the Indy 500

In this year’s “Month of May” series, on each day leading up to the Indianapolis 500 on May 26, a different topic about the race or about Indianapolis will be discussed. Each of these topics will be ranked to create special “fields of 33” regarding the Indy 500. I hope you enjoy, and I hope you learn something about Indianapolis and the Indy 500, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

So you have made your decision to go to the Indy 500 this year. Like any sporting venue, some seats are better than others. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is no different. In fact, some of the best seats in the venue aren’t even seats, but just plain lawn areas where you can set your folding chair and umbrella. What is the best place to sit? Based on visibility, atmosphere, price, and location relative to significant happenings on race day, here is the Field of 33 Best Seats at the Indy 500. (Images courtesy of

Row 11

33. Back of Indiana State Police car ($0) – The ticket is free, but the exit fee sure isn’t! Don’t have TOO much fun before the race now…

32. South Terrace ($40) – Inside of the track and low to the ground between turns one and two. Not a great spot sadly.

31. South Vista ($80) – On the other side of the track from the South Terrace. Especially if you’re low to the ground, it’s not the best spot. Take some Advil and expect your neck to be on a swivel.

Row 10

30. North Vista ($80) – Pretty much the exact same as the South Vista, just the other end of the track. 

Image courtesy of
29. Infield Care Center ($20) – All it takes is the $20 General Admission ticket to get into the grounds. Drink plenty (of water) or end up in the hospital…

Image from
28. Coke Lot ($0) – Forgot your ticket? No ticket? Guess the best place to enjoy the race is partying with others too drunk to walk to the track…well they’ve been drinking for a week straight now right?

Row 9

27. Snake Pit ($20) – All you need is the $20 GA ticket, then you can get to the ultimate party in the Snake Pit. No you won’t see much (okay, you won’t see any) of the race from there, but it’s a pretty awesome party atmosphere there!

26. H Stands ($70) – Along the front straightaway so you can see into the pits a bit, but no turns so limited action there.

25. Pit Road Terrace ($80) – If you like the pits, this is where you should be. You won’t see much in terms of racing, however.
Row 8 – The Infield

24. Plaza Hospitality Village ($20) – If you are completely unsure of where you want to be, or you are someone who doesn’t sit still well, get the $20 GA ticket and walk around the infield throughout the race. Start at the Village, walk towards pit lane, take a lap around the entire oval until you find a place you like! 

23. Turn 2 Viewing Mounds ($20) – Need to arrive early (gates open at 6 am) to get the best spots. But you can set up your chairs and find some nice seats for just the $20 general admission price.

22. Turn 3 Viewing Mounds ($20) – Only difference between turns 2 and 3 are the fact that turn 3 comes after a longer straightaway. You’ll see more passing coming into 3 rather than out of 2. Plus, party areas like the Snake Pit are nearby for you to enjoy (pre-race only, of course!). 

Row 7

21. A/B Penthouse ($150) – Nice high view gives you a nice look at the entire frontstretch and pit lane. Maybe not quite worth the $150 but it’s a great view!

20. E Penthouse ($150) – Look down upon the field as all 33 dive into turn one! 

19. SE Vista ($85) – Turn 2 is a nice location here. The SE Vista gives you a view of the exit of turn one, all of turn two, and all of the way down the back straight and almost to turn three!

Row 6

18. E Stands ($90)– 33 Cars coming right at you. Just because of the start of the race, these seats are worth it!

17. G Stands ($70).  These seats at the entrance of turn 2 are under-valued I believe.

16. A/B Stands ($85) – Seeing the exit of turn 4 and down into pit lane, these grandstands are good for the big moments (start and finish, pits) but not for the general racing.

Row 5

15. SW Vista Deck ($150) – Up high, can see all the way from turn 4 to turn 2. Lots of action in your view from these seats! 

14. NE Vista ($85) – Turns 2 through 4 are visible from these seats. If you’re up high, these are great seats especially for the price. If you’re in the lower rows, it might be a bit difficult to see all you could. Then again, it’s that way for just about every section around the track. 

13. SE Vista Deck ($150) – The extra height is just enough to turn SE Vista seats from “alright” to “awesome!”

Row 4

12. Paddock ($90)– Great seats to see the start/finish line and pit lane. I’m not as big of a fan because I like seeing the entrance and exit of turns, but the most action occurs in the pits and at the start/finish line, so these seats are pretty good I’d say.

11. NE Vista Deck ($150) – It’d be better to see all of the front straight instead of the back straight, but any seats at the end of a long straightaway into a turn are good places to be, especially with that height to see all of the way down to turn 2.

10. NW Vista Deck ($150)– I love the seats, especially if you’re right at the apex of turn 4 so you can see straight down to turn one. For half of the price you can be fifteen feet lower to the ground. That’s why these seats don’t make the Fast Nine Shootout.

Row 3

9. C Stands ($90)– It’s a nice spot at the exit of turn four and you can see easily into the pits, the start/finish line, and to the entrance of turn one. Not to mention you have cover from the elements.

8. J Stands ($70) – Very similar to the adjacent C grandstands, just $20 less and closer to turn 4. Like I’ve said before, I prefer the turns to the straights and can see just as much of the straightaway, so I’ll go for the cheaper of these two. 

7. SW Vista ($85) – The start and restarts are perfect from the SW Vista. Let those cars come right at you and enjoy the roar of the engines!

Row 2

6. Tower Terrace ($90) – These seats are perfect for start/finish and pit viewing, plus the pre-race festivities all take place right here. It’s limited viewing for the race as a whole, but you’re right in the thick of everything.

5. Paddock Penthouse ($150) – Up high, right at the start/finish line, easy to see up and down pit lane, in view of the stage for pre-race festivities, great looks to the exit of turn 4 and start of turn 1. If you spend the top dollar for seating (minus the suites) then this is the place to be.

4. NW Vista ($85)– Besides seeing turns 3, 4, and all of the way to the start/finish line, this is also where the green flag drops for restarts. Plus, the flyby comes literally right over your head every year. The higher, the better. But any seat in this section shows a majority of the track and brings lots of activity within walking distance and eyesight. 

Row 1 – Suite Seats

3. Tower Terrace Suites ($ ??) – A little big higher so you can see over the pit equipment and pit walls easier than the general terrace seating. 

2. Hulman Suites ($ ??) – Above the C Grandstands, enjoy the extra height and see over half of the track! Don’t have a specific price tag on these seats, but they’re likely worth it! 

1. VIP Suites ($ ??) – Those suites in turn 2 are the best of the best. One day I’ll make enough money to sit there for a race just so I can say I did. Spectacular crashes in turn two almost each year, visibility of over half the track, and of course the perks of being a “VIP” all are included here.  

The Field of 33 – Best Brickyard Seats

Row 1
1. VIP Suites
2. Hulman Suites
3. Tower Terrace Suites
Row 2
4. NW Vista
5. Paddock Penthouse
6. Tower Terrace
Row 3
7. SW Vista
8. J Stands
9. C Stands
Row 4
10. NW Vista Deck
11. NE Vista Deck
12. Paddock
Row 5
13. SE Vista Deck
14. NE Vista
15. SW Vista Deck
Row 6
16. A/B Stands
17. G Stands
18. E Stands
Row 7
19. SE Vista
20. E Stands Penthouse
21. A/B Stands Penthouse
Row 8
22. Turn 3 Mounds
23. Turn 2 Mounds
24. Hospitality Village
Row 9
25. Pit Road Terrace
26. H Stands
27. Snake Pit
Row 10
28. Coke Lot
29. Infield Care Center
30. North Vista
Row 11
31. South Vista
32. South Terrace
33. Back of an Indiana State Police car

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