A Well Kept Secret

By Susan Phillips

My husband, who normally occupies this space, asked me to have something ready for today because he had very little time to write while he was in Denver and he anticipated being too tired to write anything after he got back after midnight on Wednesday. Plus the Titans are currently playing as I’m quietly writing this on my laptop while he stares intently at the game. The way this season has gone, I’d rather be focusing on this than listening to his expletives.

Consider this a public service announcement, especially if you live in or near Indianapolis. I know George has already written about the weekend we spent in Indianapolis almost three weeks ago. Although the Titans put in a bad performance against the Colts, the rest of the weekend was a success. George liked going to St. Elmo Steak House, but he is one of those that lives to eat. I eat to live. It was fun and the food was good, but I would never pay what he did for any meal. But it was fun just watching him get into it.

We both enjoyed going to Lights at the Brickyard. Thanks to Brandon Wright for the great gift he gave us. We were both disappointed in the Titans game, but we both enjoyed Lights at the Brickyard.

But we each had our own personal highlights aside from seeing the Christmas lights at merchandise clearance sale at IMS. I scored a few items that I cannot discuss, because a couple of them will soon be wrapped and under the tree with George’s name on it.

So what is the public service announcement and the well-kept secret? They are both one in the same.

If you’ve ever spent any time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you probably know where several gift shops are during the month of May. But the main one at the IMS Museum is open year-round (except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day). So what is the well-kept secret? The Clearance Gift Shop just a short walk from the museum.

It’s closed at this time of year. But if you are at IMS any during the month of May or any other event weekend, it’s a gold mine in merchandise and savings. Many of the great gifts from me that George has raved about here, have come from the clearance shop. For Christmas in 2016, I gave him a black windbreaker with the 100th Running logo on it that he wears all the time. I think that May it was selling for $55. I paid $20 for it. Another Christmas gift he got last year was a commemorative coffee table book on the 2016 race. It originally sold for $50. I think I paid $30 for it a year ago. You can now get it for $15. Trust me, it is a quality publication.


This past May, I got him a mounted poster of the 100 winners (including Rossi). I don’t know what it originally cost in the gift shop, but I paid a whopping $15 for it. He has it proudly hanging in his man cave where he does most of his writing.


The clearance shop is located in a separate building just west of the museum. There is a monument next to the sidewalk leading away from the museum. If you stop to gaze at the monument, you’ll see a white building next to the monument. There is a very small sit-down restaurant on one side of the building that sells mostly hot dogs and hamburgers (no tenderloins). On the other side of the building is the easy-to-miss clearance shop.

If you check it out next May, don’t expect to find anything that has to do with the 2019 Indy 500 or any current sponsors or cars. That’s what in the museum gift shop or any of the others found at the track. But if you don’t mind a Graham Rahal car in Steak-n-Shake colors or Marco Andretti in RC Cola livery, you can get a die-cast dirt cheap.

Hats, shirts, T-shirts, posters; you can find them all in the clearance shop. Just don’t be surprised if they are from 2-3 years ago.

Tony Kanaan has always been my son’s favorite driver. A couple of years ago, they still had Tony Kanaan merchandise with the green GEICO livery when he first started driving for KV, or the Hydroxycut items left over from the year he won Indy. Did my son care? Not a bit. The more TK stuff he can get his hands on, the better. He just considers the clearance stuff “vintage”.

Believe me, the deals you can get there are worth seeking out. Unfortunately, it is not open year-round at the track. And the sale we went to in November is not the only bargain. There is still a lot of stuff on the track’s clearance website that you can take advantage of.

So if you’ve got an Indy 500 fan on your Christmas list, save yourself a bundle of cash and check out the website. Or if you’re at the track next May, take a few moments and step inside the clearance shop just down the sidewalk from the museum. I dare you to come out empty-handed.

4 Responses to “A Well Kept Secret”

  1. BrandonWright77 Says:

    I remember you commenting on that last year, I was not aware of the clearance shop so I hit it up in May and scored some nice deals including that plaque of the 100 winners. Thanks for the tip, and glad you enjoyed the lights! 🙂

  2. billytheskink Says:

    If only I could get my hands on one of those Marco “MaRCo” RC Cola hats from 2013… If only.

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