For these Canadian racing fans, the Indy 500 isn’t complete without ‘Wizard Sticks’

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indy 500 is a great American tradition, but these Canadians at Indianapolis Motor Speedway sure know what they’re doing.

This group of five from Sarnia, Ontario rely on what’s known as a Wizard Stick to keep their party going throughout the weekend of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. It starts off with a single beer, and when that one is empty, they grab another from their cooler of 100 and duct tape it to the top of the finished one. Drink, tape, repeat.

By mid-afternoon Friday, Matthew Slotwinski, 30, was 15 beers deep after about five hours at the track and said the Wizard Sticks are as much of a tradition for him as the race itself.

IndyCar fans help each other tape a new beer can to the top of a Wizard Stick.

“We got bored about six years ago and randomly decided to come to the Indy 500,” he said. “Now, it’s our favorite weekend of the year. It’s all about the party, the speed and all the new friends we make.”

As a big IndyCar fan at his first Indy 500, 21-year-old David Carey is loving the experience and atmosphere at the track, even though the race isn’t until Sunday. But he and his friends came out to the stands for the developmental series Indy Lights race and the pit stop competition among the Indy 500 drivers’ crews.

As for his first experience with a Wizard Stick, “They told me to do it, so I did,” he said. “I love it. It’s so much fun.”

Their completed stacks of beer cans may seem like an inconvenience, but they actually have a practical purpose.

“They support us so we can walk home at the end of the day,” Slotwinski added.

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