This Ticket Is Truly A Keepsake

As I write this I am fully aware that some of us have already received our tickets for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, while many more have not. Fear not, they are on their way.

I will admit that I was a bit worried. I received an e-mail from IMS on Thursday March 17th, informing me that my tickets had been shipped. Just a day or so earlier, I had seen photos on social media of the rows of bins containing the famous blue envelope about to be loaded onto mail trucks. It didn’t take long for people to start posting pictures of their new tickets on social media.


For days, I saw these pictures and I had no tickets. Last Wednesday night, I went so far as to post my concern on social media and asked “…should I be worried”. Some said no, while others said I should start fretting.

Finally, the tickets came on Friday. I breathed a sigh of relief when I opened the mailbox and saw a slightly larger and heavier version of the familiar blue envelope that comes each spring. Usually, they are very nondescript with only a P.O. Box and a Speedway, Indiana zip code. This year, the bigger blue envelope says Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the actual street address. Granted, it’s a very slight difference but it does seem to announce Tickets to would-be thieves, more in this new version.


Most that read this site know what a traditionalist I am. I do not like most change, unless I see a reason for it. The tickets for the Indianapolis 500 have always been a keepsake item. Somewhere in my mother’s house is the ticket to the 1965 Indianapolis 500 – my first. It had a picture of AJ Foyt as well as his winning car from the previous year and still referred to the race as the 49th International Sweepstakes.

At some point, they dropped the Sweepstakes terminology, but as long as I can remember they’ve always put a picture of the previous year’s winner on the front of the ticket. Ten years ago, the ticket featured a photo of Dan Wheldon’s winning car from the top down. What was most notable was that the words “90th Running” had been burned or cut out through the ticket. It was very unique, but I’m sure very expensive. They have not done that since.

I hope that IMS never goes to what most events have gone to – e-tickets that go directly to your phone. While it may be handy for buying a hockey ticket online on the day of the game, it certainly doesn’t give you that nice souvenir to throw into your top drawer when you get home the night of the game.

But hockey and football games are not special events. There are several throughout the year. The Indianapolis 500 is a once-a-year event that has now taken place ninety-nine times. Something like that deserves something better than an e-ticket through the Ticketmaster app.

Fortunately, Doug Boles and his staff at IMS are taking things a different direction. Rather than the usual card-stock cardboard ticket, they decided to give the 100th Running the special treatment it deserves. For this year (and I presume this year only), the race ticket features a photo of last year’s winner, Juan Montoya, hoisting his arms in celebration of his second victory in Victory Lane. What is different is that the photo is somehow affixed to a hard, clear plastic sheet. Not only does the ticket look and feel different – they’ve even provided a slot up at the top of the ticket for a lanyard to fit directly through, so that you don’t have to slip your ticket inside of a clear sleeve that may or may not fit.

They didn’t stop there. There is an old rule in product marketing that says “packaging is everything”. Instead of the usual rubber band holding the tickets together inside the standard blue envelope, this year they’ve provided a cardboard sleeve or display stand with the race logo and the schedule for the entire month of May.


Many of you reading this have yet to receive your tickets. My two brothers haven’t received theirs. All three of us sit in Stand A, but two of us sit together. I have mine and he doesn’t. My One Take Only cohort, John McLallen, lives ten minutes from my house and also sits in Stand A. He doesn’t have his yet, either. I know that the tickets went out in waves, so don’t panic if you haven’t gotten yours yet.

But if you have gotten yours, you’ve seen first-hand what I’m talking about. We like to complain about a lot of things regarding IndyCar and some of the changes that have taken place over the years regarding the Indianapolis 500. But I’m going against my natural tendency to resist change and embrace everything about these new tickets. I like the clever packaging and I love the look of the clear plastic ticket that can hang directly from a lanyard.

Hats off to Doug Boles, his staff and whoever came up with the idea to create such a special keepsake for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. They hit a home run this time.

George Phillips

18 Responses to “This Ticket Is Truly A Keepsake”

  1. Well it’s worse if you’re a few thousand miles away in the UK! I’ve yet to get the promised email advising dispatch and I assume they’re using USPS or similar so holding my my breath isn’t an option. 8 weeks to go so no panic yet! 🙂

  2. Ron Ford Says:


  3. I wish I could go this year. But with flights, rental car, hotel, meals, and race tickets it was going to top $2500 for me and my dad. I just can’t swing that cost now. Maybe next year.

  4. DZ-groundedeffects Says:

    I’ve saved everyone I’ve had and stored them with the event program of the same year, so count me among those who appreciate the effort and expense to produce an actual event ticket.

    I’m excited to have mine in hand and, as mentioned on twitter, I for many years have some anxiety about actually getting them, misplacing or damaging them to the point that once I had them, I’d review the order for accuracy, then straight to the bank and into the safe deposit box.

    Now I just leave them at Will Call until I come in for the GP or on Thursday before Indy. Yes, I won’t have them to admire until that pick up day, but I also relieved the anxiety I’d have if they were just lying around my house.

    Of all special events/vacations/etc., the Indy 500 is the one that my family knows takes precedence over nearly everything else. That weekend goes on the vacation calendar at work first (January 4 every year) to reserve the date.

    Likewise, my storage and archiving of memorabilia also gets ‘priority handling’ over many other things.

    But then again, it IS the greatest race in the world.

  5. Impatiently waiting!

  6. billytheskink Says:

    I don’t know if you’ve made me more or less anxious about my tickets arriving, George. You have made me more excited about the 500, though.

    The Grand Prix of Houston did plastic tickets for 3 day ticket buyers back in 2014, very slick presentation and easy to attach to a lanyard. Glad to see Indy doing it as well for the 100th.

    We’ve come a long way in commemorative tickets in the last decade… I attended the final Houston Rockets game at their old arena, The Summit, back in 2003, and the commemorative ticket was a 7″x9″ piece of cardstock. Where the heck am I putting something that big when the ticket taker is not tearing the stub off?

  7. Geroge I think you needed another choice: Not going this year. Maybe next year. The tix look great!

  8. Yes the ticket is a hit! So deserving of the 100th running! Hope I’m still able to attend the 200th running!!

  9. I have made a call to Indianapolis and I have been assured that my tickets are on their way. They look terrific, too.

  10. Still no email. Just starting to get hinky.

  11. It’s already May and I still don’t have mine. And I live overseas, so they have only three weeks left.

    • I would contact the ticket office immediately. – GP

      • I can’t do that on Sunday, but I’ll definitely call them tomorrow. Because my flight to Chicago departs on 23rd of May, the tickets will be useless if they arrive 24th or 25th..or in June

        • Mine came US priority mail in one week. Don’t panic, even if you pick them up at the track it’ll be fine. I’ve done it before when flying from the UK for races. We also arrive in Chicago on the 23Rd.

  12. I chased mine on the phone after some advice from George. They came last week. At this,stage you may have to collect them at the track. Give them a ring. Good luck!

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