What’s left behind in the Snake Pit

Published On June 1, 2016 » 32683 Views» By John Schwarb » Blogs, IMS, Indy 500, Snake Pit

As the world knows now, the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil was an outrageously good time. Here on #SpeedRead, we’re just now catching our breath. Eventually, we’ll catch up on sleep.

We figure that’s the case for many fans as well, especially when we took a look around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grounds Sunday night.


We know how the Snake Pit looks when it’s alive, but what about when everyone is gone? We’re in awe of what is left behind. If the trash could speak … well, it may slur a few words and go all “TMI” so, actually, let’s not let the trash speak. But here’s what we found on a walk, er, golf cart ride through the deserted Snake Pit. And note that these images are not doctored or staged — because we weren’t touching anything without having a hazmat suit on.


NICE COOLERS: These Coleman wheely-handle deals aren’t as cheap as the gas-station Styrofoam coolers that are left deserted and, oddly, often smashed to smithereens. You could attend a dozen Indy 500s with these. Yet some fans left these two behind in an almost artsy formation, like a mic drop from a Race Day done right.


COOLERS FROM OTHER SPORTS: Surely this United States Tennis Association cooler once lived a quaint life. Chicken salad sandwiches and Perrier at the Saturday morning mixed doubles league, perhaps. Then it ended up in the Snake Pit, where Perrier would get you laughed not just out of the Snake Pit but out of the entire Town of Speedway and most of Marion County.


ONE FLIP-FLOP: We looked around 50 feet in every direction and could not find the left-footed “Rocket Dog” (whatever that is) flip-flop. Did it end up in a backpack? Tucked in a waistband? On a foot other than the original owner’s? Or did a serious Snake Pit aficionado just own it and walk out with one flip-flop?


KOOZIE: This asks, “What’s Your Tradition?” Is the answer not clear given that it’s holding a Miller Lite Tall Boy while sitting on top of a blue barrel garbage can that’s overflowing – and there are about 50 other similarly packed barrels in the surrounding debris field?


LABELED COOLERS: Hey, Johnson Family, if you want to come reclaim this, feel free. But be warned, near this is a half-open Ziploc bag of sandwiches that are in the process of returning to nature. We’re sparing you that picture.


VINTAGE COOLERS: Wait a minute! This is sacrilege, leaving behind a cooler with the old IMS Wing & Wheel logo. We’re wondering if this might have belonged to one of those 1970s-era Snake Pit revelers who now sits in the Paddock Penthouse and refuses to acknowledge today’s Snake Pit. Their college-age child has really gotten tired of hearing that so he (or she) grabbed this cooler, stuffed it silly with Coors Light and … see, mom and dad? Our Snake Pit is crazy too. But sorry about the cooler. We really didn’t mean to leave it behind.


VICTORIA’S SECRET BAG: This can go in so many directions … but it’s a family blog so we’ll just pass.


HALF-CONSUMED PACK OF DOUBLE-STUF OREOS: OK, this one made us a bit upset. We imagine the Snake Pit denizens get the munchies from time to time – as in, from the time they arrive — but this pack was still half-full hours after the revelry ended. Do you know how quickly these would have vanished in the media center? You can do better, Snake Pit. Fortunately, there’s next year. Call us then, Oreo person.



About The Author

John Schwarb

I joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway communications team in July 2014 and love sharing stories from the World Capital of Racing, particularly its rich history. Most of my professional career has been in racing or golf, so if I'm not in the IMS media center, the office at 16th and Georgetown or milling around Gasoline Alley, maybe I'll be standing over a birdie putt at Brickyard Crossing. Follow us at @IMS or drop me a line at @JohnSchwarb and come back to the blog often for more stories.

This was a sad attempt at a snakepit. And the base rattling was irritating and drowned out the public address system in turn 3.


These people should feel ashamed and embarrassed


How very sad to know how little people care about the planet:(  I guess it takes to much effort to but your trash in a bag and take it with you and dispose of it in the right place. 


@PatsyHartman You must've missed the part about every blue barrel overflowing. I can verify that every trash barrel I saw was full by 10am. I'm actually not sure why they even have the few barrels that they do--IMS seems to have no intent or interest in people throwing their trash away, and certainly the dozens of volunteer groups that raise funds by collecting all the trash don't mind (as I've been in these trash-pickup brigades many times). 


None of this surprises me.  One of my favorite activities when we visited my Grandmother in Pennsylvania was to accompany my Uncle to one of his Dirt Tracks.  We were "the clean up crew" and got to keep any change we found among the debris.  If there were valuable or important items, such as wallets, or clothing (mostly jackets), or blankets, they went to the "lost and found".  

This was back in the late 50's/ early 60's and it was not uncommon to come away with five or six dollars in change from doing the job.  (people seemed to lose change in the gravel under the grandstands a lot!)


Do you ever find other things besides trash?  Money?  Jewelry? 


@LisaMcCracken There are non-profit groups that pays the speedway to go clean up. With all the recyclable and other stuff they find they may a ton.