We gather to load the truck at 3:15 a.m., and I know that sounds insane, but as the only non-Indiana resident in my group of nine — not to mention a first time attendee —decisions regarding tailgating at the Indy 500 are not mine to make.
And this year is the tailgate to end all tailgates: 2016 marks the 100th running of the race, and the first time in 20 years that the entire track sold out, meaning upwards of 350,000 people packed in and around the track. It’s the highest-capacity sports venue in the world —so gigantic there’s four-holes of an 18-hole golf course on the infield
Fitting in coolers, a grill, a folding table, chairs, a tent, a blanket and bags and bags of chips in our truck is like a game of Tetris. About half the group cracks open their first beers of the day before 3:30 a.m. One member of our group, Andy, tries to fit in four containers of raspberries and blackberries into the beer coolers, and gets mocked for five solid minutes for bringing fruit.