Amazing, luxury camping – ‘glamping’ – enhances Indy 500 experience in so many ways

INDIANAPOLIS – Picture a room with inviting couches, the most comfortable bed, rustic-looking tables, a fridge, art hanging on the walls and the luxury of air conditioning. Is it a studio apartment or a tent on the infield of a race track?

This is how a small portion of the fans at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are living this weekend as they prepare for Sunday’s Indy 500. It’s called “glamping” – or glamorous camping – and it has become a popular trend at race tracks.

It’s a little village practically on the golf course inside the track known as Glamptown with dozens of tents lined up next to each other, occasionally separated by picnic tables, grills or the bathrooms specifically for them.

“I’ve been coming to the Indy 500 for 10 years, and I’ve (watched from) suites, the grandstands, the garages, everything,” Indianapolis resident Diane Markle said. “This is, by far, the best way to experience the Indy 500. (You’re) immersed in Indy racing culture.”

First offered at the Brickyard in 2014, Markle said this is her second year doing it and she’ll probably never go back, calling her neighboring tents “glamily.” She’s definitely not the only one who loves this set up.

The accommodations range from traditional-looking tents with twin or queen beds to the ultra-luxurious dome package, which is new this year and basically provides a small apartment. Included in the deals – from $1,200 to $3,199 – are food and ice delivery services, security, a parking pass and convenience, attracting fans in their 20s and 70s alike.

Glamptown campers sitting near the Brickyard Crossing golf holes inside the track.

“The best part is we don’t have to move our car or deal with traffic, don’t have to worry about drinking and driving and the maintenance guys bring you anything you want,” Annapolis, Maryland resident Kevin Spangler said. “Convenience wise, you can’t beat it.”

Along with the quaint party atmosphere and avoiding the treacherous, race-day traffic, fans raved about the relatively private bathrooms and showers, making as many friends as possible and being around for Sunday’s early-morning cannon shot to start the day.

Jeff and Kim Fletcher, from Lonoke, Arkansas, sit outside of their dome tent.

After suffering in the heat of the regular tents last year, Lonoke, Arkansas residents Jeff and Kim Fletcher upgraded to the dome package for a tent nearly twice as big. And – especially with their mattress that’s “better than the one at home” – they couldn’t imagine not glamping at the 500 in the future.

“This is more comfortable and as good as you’d be at any hotel,” Jeff said.

Here’s a look around Glamptown in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield.

Keith Fager from Kansas City reads ‘The Bear and the Dragon’ by Tom Clancy in one of the common areas for all Glamptown residents.

Racing fans cool off in an air-conditioned dome available for anyone to relax in.

The facilities.

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