SPEEDWAY. Ind. — In the days leading up to the Indy 500, a village grows on the grounds around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway of motorhomes, tents and porta potties for as far as the eye can see.
For the thousands out in the camp grounds who have been doing this for years, the lonng weekend feels like one big family reunion.
”You meet a lot of people year after year, become friends with them and then they come back and you meet up with them,” said Coke Lot camper Kevin Elson. “It’s a lot of fun making new friends ships and relationships.”
All the fun starts in the early morning hours of Thursday with RVs lined up for miles waiting to get into the camping lots to secure their spot.
”We actually see the same people every year, we camp around the same place,” said on Coke Lot camper.
Campers call this the ultimate race weekend experience.
”It wasn’t till I came here and started camping where you really just immerse yourself in racing culture, there’s nothing better,” said Carlo, a camper who’s been getting together with college friends once a year for more than a decade at the Coke Lot.
The residents of the lots around IMS go all out, tyring their best to make themselves feel at home.
”RV, carpet, lounge chairs, stove, bad coffee maker,” said one Indy 500 camper going through his must-have checklist for the campground.
Some super fans even do their best to make the campground feel like the racetrack.
”You need to take a look, they made a scoring pylon over there,” said one camper, pointing to his neighbor’s lot. “You need to get a picture of that. That is the coolest thing ever.”
Traditions have been established over the years, like the “Super Fowl.”
”This is where it all started and this is our big one for the year,” said Billy Cooley, a longtime Coke Lot camper.
Each year, in the same spot, a bar gets set up, along with six boards for a fowling tournament.
”It’s a game where you throw a football at bowling pins,” said Cooley. The first person to knock down 10 pins wins.
The biggest fowling tournament of the year happens on Saturday. Cooley said there will be hundreds of people in attendance and more than 100 teams competing.
I even tried fowling out for myself. Turns out, it’s a lot harder than just throwing a football at some bowling pins.
Whatever you do out in the camp grounds surrounding the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – it’s a big party with thousands of your closest friends.
”You get to Saturday night and you’re like, ‘I don’t know half the people here,’ but we’re all having a good time,” said Austin, another Coke Lot camper.