Those finding themselves with revved-up appetites at the Indianapolis 500 have limited options for foods at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. But there are still plenty of stalls and carts to load up on eats.
This Indy 500 will be first with spectators since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2019 sale of IMS.
Food trucks and local companies have set up shops around the track to serve sandwiches, chicken tenders and iced coffee, among other treats.
Fans also have the chance to flex their cooler game, thanks to a policy that lets them enter with their own food and beverages.
If you’re one of the lucky thousands to be at IMS on Sunday, here’s what you can expect.
No significant changes since Penske acquisition
The track has seen no significant foodservice changes in the wake of the 2019 acquisition by Penske Corp., according to Kevin Memolo, communications manager for Levy, the Chicago-based company that handles food concessions at IMS.
Rather, what differences fans will notice in the menu selection and payment processes are due to COVID-19 and efforts to improve health, safety and speed of service.
No cash allowed — but there’s an easy fix
All food and beverage locations are cashless — the better to keep the lines moving.
Reverse ATMs — those that convert cash to Visa prepaid cards — are located throughout the concourse to accommodate IMS visitors who find themselves with only cash on hand upon entry. Any remaining balances can be used for Visa prepaid card purchases outside of the venue.
Local brands and food trucks at the track
Want loaded steak and a fountain of cheese over fries ($12)? Head for Zeny’s Concession. Fancy a giant smoothie in a gas can-shaped container ($28)? Coco Cabana’s Tropic Smoothie Bar truck will be waiting.
Lebanon-based Titus Bakery will have its signature Pershing doughnut, ($3), as well as deli sandwiches ($7/$12), cookies ($2.50), and lattes ($6/$8) at B Stand, Turn 1.
The Carmel-based Java House Coffee Bar has drinks, including island mango iced tea ($3.75) at Pagoda Plaza.
Among other vendors will be HotBox Pizza (at Paddock and Turn 1/E stand); Ben’s Pretzels (Gate 1 and Gate 9 Plazas); Greek’s Pizza (Turn 2, Southeast Vista); Hop Stop Craft Beer Trailers (Gate 1 and Gate 9 Plazas); and Dem Kentucky Boyz BBQ (Gate 9 Plaza).
Focus on fan favorites for food concessions at IMS
The stalls operated by concessionaire Levy will keep to traditional stadium items — like corndogs ($8), ribeye sandwiches ($10), cheeseburgers ($7), pork tenderloin ($10), and chicken tenders and fries ($10).
The same type of food is available at the Alley Cafe, but there are breakfast burritos, cinnamon rolls and pastries served until 10:30 a.m.
Some fans can order food through an app
For the first time this year, fans inside the Hulman Terrace Club will be able to order through the IMS mobile app. That menu includes carved meats, hot dogs, jalapeno cheddar sausages, nachos, soft drinks, craft beer and wine.
A new cashier-less micro-convenience store
Also, new this year is a cashier-less micro-convenience store selling beverages, snacks and souvenirs, including hats, lanyards, umbrellas and model cars.
Shoppers access the store using an app. Any purchase is charged to a shopper’s payment account registered in the app, and a receipt is emailed within minutes of the customer leaving the store with an item.
Of course, aligning it with the peculiar economics of sports and entertainment arenas, it’s pricey. A bag of chips costs $4.27 and a Snickers bar goes for $3.36.
The free-standing store housed in a 150-square-foot shipping container uses technology from AIFi, a China- and California-based tech startup that has 10 stores in service around the world.
An IMS spokeswoman did not respond to requests for information about the store.
You can bring your own food and drink
If none of the previous options are appealing, you always have the option to bring your own coolers with food and or drinks — including alcoholic ones —into the speedway. Coolers can be no bigger than 14 inches x 14 inches x 18 inches. Glass containers are prohibited.