Earlier this week at IMS, the Indy Eleven soccer team visited in advance of their upcoming playoff game in the North American Soccer League. The league’s championship trophy was on hand, alongside the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Astor Cup, and a few Eleven players took on Indy car drivers for a little friendly game on the world-famous main straightaway. How many soccer fields have you seen with a Yard of Bricks as the midfield stripe?
Of course, the main straightaway’s day job is to host the greatest drivers in the world, but it has moonlighted a few times as a playground for other sports. Such as:
Driving range: The LPGA will visit over Labor Day weekend next year for the inaugural Indy Women In Tech Championship, and a few players visited IMS last month for the announcement. Major champion Morgan Pressel launched a few drives up the main straightaway toward Turn 4 — surely her longest ever given the generous bounces of the racing surface.
Cricket pitch: The Indianapolis World Sports Park, located east of IMS and downtown Indianapolis, has grown in stature as a place for the world’s best cricket players. Last year, a few past and present cricket stars came to IMS to help promote the game to local media, and driver Conor Daly stepped in for a few swings.
Skiing run: Every time there’s a good snowfall at the Speedway, we hear from fans who want to come out to ski or snowmobile. And why not? We saw how cool that could be in 2014, when freestyle skier Nick Goepper of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, visited after winning a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Winning a medal earned him a run down the front straightaway and the chance to turn some flips in front of the Panasonic Pagoda. Way, way cool.