Indy Treasures: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Lights


Rae Updike, Reporter

After about 30 minutes and four wrong turns, courtesy of my GPS, I found my way to the entrance of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s “Lights at the Brickyard.” Where even from afar, thousands of lights can be seen bringing the spirit of Christmas to life.

From the entrance to the exit, the glittering spectacles greeted me, bouncing from my vehicle into the night. Being there on a Monday night, there were no more than four cars in either of the two lines. Not only were the low number of cars a good factor, but the cheaper price that’s offered on Monday through Wednesday, 25 dollars, otherwise on Thursday through Sunday, 30 dollars. The workers, while looking chilly, were pleasant in asking me to leave only my parking lights on, keep my speed to only five miles per hour, not to stop and tune into the custom radio station, 105.7.

After hearing the rules, I entered the beginning of the light show greeted by lights shaped like racecars, people skating, rockets and spaceships, nutcrackers, angels and lights forming the words, “#IMS LIGHTS,” followed by a short tunnel leading to the rest of the speedway. The speed limit allowed all the cars to just coast through without needing to stop or speed up throughout almost the entire drive, making it easy and relaxing to not be distracted by driving and also looking at the lights. Not only that, but the road was lined with lights to guide all the drivers along the course.

Throughout the show, there were lights in the shape of various cars, swans, desserts, snowflakes, reindeer, candy canes and even the Abominable Snow Monster from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” placing a star on top of a tree. There were some displays that seemed a little out of place and a little less holiday-spirited than the rest, however, these displays only made the outing that much more enjoyable. There were sea monsters and dragons, ships and sharks in luminous water, as well as palm trees and sunsets.

This experience is something different from driving around town to see lights because there are 40 scenes, five hundred displays and more than 2.5 million lights all in one location spread out over two miles, as well as being able to drive on the one and only IMS track. Being able to do such, to me, was a very nifty experience.

Now, the entire light show isn’t all on the track, or even most of it. That part comes near the end where Santa Claus wishes you a happy holidays. This segment of the displays included timed lights to allude to the effect as if the characters in the lights were actually moving, such as a reindeer running up a ramp and jumping off the end with a parachute, and an elf shrugging.

The finale of lights at the end, leading from the track, is a tunnel of rainbow lights that are activated upon approach, spiraling all around your vehicle while passing through. After that, the last two displays before the exit wish you a “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” and a “Seasons Greetings” sponsored by Coca-Cola.

All in all, the entire experience was well worth the cost and something that I would definitely visit again in the future. The only imperfect thing in my own opinion was while there were definitely and literally millions of lights, there was a lot of dark space that I feel could have been utilized more. Other than that one small thing, it, in my opinion, is definitely worthy of the title, “Indy Treasure.”