16th Street is home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Though he admits that it is just a “normal street 51 weeks of the year,” two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and defending champ Dario Franchitti says you can feel the energy on 16th Street in Indianapolis—home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—“change dramatically as the race draws near.” While Franchitti is fortunate to split his free time between a home in his native Scotland and a farm in Tennessee (he shares both with his wife, actress Ashley Judd), for three weeks each May he calls the motor coach lot inside the speedway home. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the hub of the activities, but the city is alive with the buzz of the 500,” Franchitti says. He races for his third title as the Indianapolis 500 celebrates its 100th anniversary on May 29.
Franchitti says a trip to Indianapolis isn’t complete without a stop at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, at the corner of 16th and Georgetown streets. Built in 1909, the 2 1/2-mile track can see crowds of 400,000 for major events.
“Visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum,” says Franchitti. “It guides you through the history of this great race. With it being the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, it will be filled with the largest collection of Indy 500-winning cars ever shown.”
“My wife, Ashley, always surprises me with a birthday cake from Long’s Bakery every May 19th,” says Franchitti of the bakery famous for doughnuts and more. “Last year, the Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers played for me in the garage as the cake came out.”
“I run the pathways of Brickyard Crossing golf course—it winds inside the track—after a hard day in the Target IndyCar,” Franchitti says. “My dad hit a hole in one there in 2007. That set the tone for the month, and I won my first Indy 500!”
The closest restaurant to the speedway is Dawson’s on Main. Franchitti says he likes it because “we are always sure to run into some of our friends from the IndyCar Series or the speedway.” The restaurant also throws a huge post-Indy 500 party.