Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles and his staff figured Lights at the Brickyard would be a good way to draw racing fans during the offseason.
“We learned that 50 percent of the people that came through the first year had never even been to the Speedway, which is pretty crazy,” Boles said. “We figured it would be mostly race fans, but it was families looking for something to do in their cars.”
So, Boles said the lights display has become a great way to introduce IMS to people who have never been before.
“It’s a marketing tool,” he said.
The holiday lights display, in its fourth year, has kept growing. This year, Lights at the Brickyard has added an out-of-car experience around the IMS Pagoda Plaza.
“We wanted to get the in-car experience down first before we focused on the out-of-car experience,” Boles said. “People can park their car and walk around Pagoda Plaza and go up into the Pagoda. We’ll have Santa Claus in a fire suit and racecar for some photos. There will be adult beverages, hot chocolate and fire pit. We’re excited about trying this.”
Boles, a Zionsville resident, said motorists can drive through the 2-mile lights display and then park and walk around.
The Pagoda Lookout Experience will allow customers to visit the holiday-themed eighth floor of the Pagoda to view the glowing 3 million holiday lights.
Fans who purchased Standard Lane tickets can upgrade to the Speedy Pass on-site to gain access to the Pagoda Experience.
Lights at the Brickyard will remain open longer this season and won’t close until Jan. 5. The previous three years it closed on New Year’s Day.
“We got feedback from customers who said they would rather we stay open an extra week than open early,” Boles said. “Kids are still home on holiday break and families are still looking for things to do.”
Operating hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Pagoda Plaza Village and Pagoda Experience will be available through Dec. 24.
“It’s amazing how many people come on Christmas Eve and even Christmas Day,” Boles said. “On average, there are a little over five people per car that come through, and we’re looking at an average of 35,000 cars that go through those 40 days (each year).”
IMS has added Riley Children’s Foundation as its philanthropic partner and Fifth Third Bank as a new presenting sponsor. Customers can take part in a “Give 10 percent, Save 10 percent” promotion. When fans buy tickets in advance at IMS.com/Riley, 10 percent of each purchase will be donated to Riley Children’s Foundation, and patrons will save 10 percent on their Speedy Pass ticket.
For ticket prices, visit IMS.com.