May 22, 2023 - Things to Do

What it's like riding with an IndyCar driver at 180 mph

A woman in the foreground wearing a fire suit and helmet, with IndyCars in the background on a race track.

Giving "Fast Friday" a whole new meaning. Photo: Arika Herron/Axios

Arika, here! Growing up in northern Indiana, Memorial Day weekend meant one thing: racing.

Context: Every year, my family drove down to Noblesville and stayed with my aunt and uncle. The grown-ups would go to the race and the kids would stay at their house to play video games and run around the backyard.

  • In college at Butler, I did the infield thing. We brought coolers and sat on the viewing mounds.
  • A few years ago, a friend talked me into my first Snake Pit experience.
  • Plus: I've been to the parade and ran the Indy Mini and stopped to kiss the bricks at mile 7.5-ish.

The intrigue: You know what I've never done, though? Ridden in an IndyCar as it flew around the track at 180 mph. Until now.

Driving the news: The Indy Racing Experience allows fans to hop in the back of a two-seater, driven by a licensed IndyCar driver, for a few hot laps and the closest you (or I, at least) can get to competing in the dang thing.

Details: You suit up in the real deal — the fire suit, windsock, helmet and gloves — and sink into the backseat, just inches off the asphalt.

  • Then, you're off — hitting the straightaway at upward of 180 mph and feeling (at least a fraction) of the g-forces drivers contend with as they fly through the turns.

Pro tip: Don't wear a sweatshirt under the fire suit. Trust me. 🥵

If you have the need for speed: Tickets for the experience start at $499 for two laps around the oval. Four laps will cost you $749.

The bottom line: If the roar of the engines on race day gives you goosebumps, just wait until you're strapped to it.


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