Indy 500 live blog 2016: Few arrests so far – Indianapolis Star

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The gates open for the 100th running of the Indy 500.
Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar

3:21 p.m. update

The partly cloudy skies might be helping race fans keep their cool today.

The law enforcement agencies patrolling Indianapolis Motor Speedway are reporting relatively few arrests as of 3 p.m. The Indiana State Police have arrested two people, and Speedway police have made no arrests so far. A spokeswoman for the Indiana State Excise Police said arrest figures are not yet available.

Sgt. John Perrine of the Indiana State Police could not immediately provide details on the two arrests his department made.

Speedway Police Lt. Trent Theobald said it’s fairly remarkable to get through more than three quarters of the Indianapolis 500 without recording an arrest. The department made seven arrests in and around IMS a year ago.

“There’s usually a couple locked up by now,” he said. “Because it’s been cooler, it’s going to help us with not as many people getting agitated.”

Yet, he added, there’s still plenty of time for things to take a turn for the worse.

“Usually, if we’re going to lock somebody up, it’s going to be post-race,” he said.

2:45 p.m. update

When winners are tabulated after this year’s Indianapolis 500, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir will land squarely in that column.

Assuming a prominent role in pre-race festivities, the choir sang a stirring rendition of “God Bless America” immediately after the playing of “Taps.” The group also assisted Josh Kaufman in a theatrical interpretation of “(Back Home Again in) Indiana.”

Kaufman, an Indianapolis resident and a 2014 champion of TV’s “The Voice,” released a new single, “Truth Be Told,” at iTunes this weekend.

He said his goal was to be true to “(Back Home Again in) Indiana.”

“Not do too much with it,” he said during an interview before the performance. “Just let the song be what it is.”

Kaufman added a high-note crescendo to his tune after Darius Rucker tackled “The Star-Spangled Banner” with no accompaniment.

“There are so many guys they could ask to do the Anthem and I was surprised it was me,” Rucker said. “I’m honored to be here. I’m trying to not be too nervous singing in front of 350,000 people.”

Other celebs also weighed in on their Indy 500 experience. Akbar Gbajabiamila, a former NFL player and host of “American Ninja Warrior,” said he at first found it unbelievable that 400,000 people could be in Indianapolis today.

“I didn’t realize the Vatican could fit in here, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl and everything else,” Gbajabiamila said in a statement released to media. “Heck, California could probably fit in this place.”

Award-winning author John Green had his own take on today’s record-breaking crowd:

1:51 p.m. update

Rapper and actor Ice-T has picked his favorite to win this year’s Indy 500.

“We are representing for my homey Marco (Andretti),” Ice-T said in a statement released to media.  “We’ve been friends with him for years and I just want to see him win.”

Also spotted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Former television host and Indy native David Letterman.

One year after retirement, Letterman hasn’t lost the art of deadpan.

Found on the starting grid before today’s Indianapolis 500, the co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing recapped what he’s been up to since wrapping up “Late Show with David Letterman” on May 20, 2015.

“I had a dental appointment yesterday and I picked up some dry-cleaning this morning,” he said.

Kidding aside, Letterman will return to television in October, when he files a report from India for National Geographic Channel’s climate-change documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously.”

The Indianapolis native said his visit to India was “wall-to-wall overwhelming.”

Letterman said he didn’t know what to expect when he traveled to the world’s second  most-populous nation and explored its plans to expand solar power.

“I think the entire world is in some peril, but they’re very optimistic about their future,” Letterman said.

Closer to home, Letterman said he’s sorting through TV memorabilia he’s pledged to donate to his alma mater, Ball State University.

“Mostly junk,” said the master of self-deprecation. “The poor folks at Ball State are going to end up with a load of my old crap.”

12:59 p.m. update

The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is on, and you can follow up-to-the-minute coverage at our race live blog here.

But that doesn’t mean the action has stopped elsewhere. Keep checking this blog for more sights, sounds and celebrity spottings at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In the infield along IMS’s third turn, a sold-out crowd of 30,000 are packing in this afternoon for electronic music acts Skrillex, Zeds Dead and Martin Garrix.

IndyStar reporter Amy Barter is chronicling the chaos in the speedway’s notorious party zone. Read up on this morning’s festivities here.

12:07 p.m. update

Eight survivors of the bombing on Pearl Harbor were honored before today’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

A pre-race ceremony honoring the survivors was also accompanied by a video commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attack.

In a statement, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said, “Indianapolis 500 weekend has always stood as a celebration of our servicemen and women and the chance to applaud these tremendous individuals will be one of the most unforgettable moments of the 100th Running.”

11:34 a.m. update

Florence Henderson said she’s enjoying the social aspect of being grand marshal for this year’s race.

A native of Dale, Ind., known for portraying Carol Brady on 1960s sitcom “The Brady Bunch,” Henderson sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “God Bless America” or “America the Beautiful” 23 times at the Indy 500 from 1991 to 2015.

“I’m isolated until I sing,” Henderson said of a role she won’t have today. “This year, I get to be out here and talk to everyone. It’s great.”

The Indianapolis Children’s Choir will sing “God Bless America.” Indianapolis resident and “The Voice” champion Josh Kaufman will sing “(Back Home Again in) Indiana,” accompanied by the children’s choir.

As grand marshal, Henderson will greet drivers and dignitaries on the pre-race stage, deliver the “drivers to your cars” message over the public-address system and ride in a parade car at the front of the 33 competing drivers before the race begins.

Henderson said she appreciated the reception at Saturday’s 500 Festival Parade.

“Just to hear the crowd at the parade was absolutely fantastic,” she said while walking a celebrity red carpet this morning. “I’ve done that parade forever, but the crowd was huge.”

A high-profile switch affected the Indianapolis 500 today, when singer-actress Lady Gaga planned to sub for country star Keith Urban in Mario Andretti’s two-seat car in pre-race festivities.

A back injury forced Urban to cancel his plans to visit Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Andretti, the 1969 Indy 500 champion, confirmed Gaga’s participation while walking a celebrity red carpet this morning.

“I have yet to meet her, personally,” Andretti said. “She decided to do it, and all of a sudden here we are.”

At 10:13 a.m., Gaga was seen crossing the footbridge between the track’s media center and Pagoda. She wore a gray romper before suiting up for the promotion billed as the “Honda Fastest Seat in Sports.” At the 2010 Indy 500, actor Mark Wahlberg was the first to ride with Andretti.

Andretti and Gaga will follow four parade cars and lead the official pace car on three laps before the race.

“She’s going to distract me quite a bit, actually,” Andretti said with a laugh. “I hope I can just look ahead while I’m driving.”

And an update on the wait to get into the IMS at this record-setting Indy 500:

Although some people reported waiting in long lines to get into IMS, some gates had little or no wait for most of the morning.

By 11 a.m., lines to get into IMS became short or nonexistent.

“Wide open!” a ticket taker at gate 7 yelled to no one in particular as pedestrians shuffled by outside the track. “No wait!”

Bob Luhrs, 60, of Carmel heeded the call and walked right in.

“It’s easy,” he said.

The quick entrance surprised Sarah Claymon of Indianapolis, who said she’d been to the Indianapolis 500 several times before.

“I would’ve thought security would’ve been a lot longer,” she said.

10:39 a.m. update

Sure, the lines to get into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are unbelievably long. But at least you’ll be entertained?

IMS authorities also report that the Crossover Gate 5 will  close at 11 a.m. If your seats are on the south end, they suggest you use Tunnel 6. Spectators on the north end should use Tunnel 7.

Express lanes are also available for people without coolers, purses or backpacks — gates 1, 1B 3, 6, & 9.

As the IMS fills up with race fans for what is expected to be the biggest Indy 500 ever, be prepared for heavy crowds.

IndyStar engagement producer Allison Carter takes a peek at the view from the track:

9:51 a.m. update

Pop superstar Lady Gaga’s role at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is confirmed, writes IndyStar reporter Dave Lindquist. Gaga will accompany Mario Andretti in a two-seat race car today.

Gaga replaces country music star Keith Urban, who dropped out because of a back injury. Andretti and Gaga will follow four parade cars and lead the official pace car on three laps before the race.

In traffic news: While there is no fast route to get to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 21st Street appears to be an especially slow way to get there.

Twitter user @ematurne posted that “traffic is backed up on 21st Street almost to Raceway Road” – which is more than five miles from the track.

Backups are the norm, though, on every street leading to IMS. About three hours before the Indianapolis 500 was set to begin, social media users were mostly expressing frustration.

“I feel like every traffic report is pointless now,” Twitter user @julesia18 posted. “All routes in are backed up.”

Not everyone is lamenting the long wait times, though. Some see it as a positive sign for Indianapolis’ beloved race.

“The Indy500 hasn’t seen traffic like this for years,” Twitter user @Gooder_English posted. “It’s good to see again.”

One Indy 500 veteran, Twitter user @MikeBudzik, offered a suggestion for those frustrated with the backups.

“We used to get out & play Frisbee with other race fans stuck in traffic,” he said.

Authorities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are also giving fans a heads-up today on gates with the shortest wait times:

9:07 a.m. update

Crowds are pouring into the Snake Pit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this morning, which is expected to attract double the crowd size from 2014.

Officials attribute the sellout of 30,000 tickets to the magnitude of the 100th running.

Can’t believe how busy it already is in the #indy500snakepit. B.O.A.T. on now.

A video posted by Amy Bartner (@amybartner) on May 29, 2016 at 6:04am PDT

Headliner DJ Skrillex is backed up with an impressive electronic lineup: Martin GarrixZeds Dead, DJ Mustard and B.O.A.T.

Police officers from departments in Lebanon and Newcastle told IndyStar reporter Amy Bartner they are looking for overdoses in the typical “party crowd.”

Meanwhile, the crowd of race fans trying to get into the IMS is growing thicker. According to police radio traffic, gates 1, 6 and 9 are busiest, and visitors are encouraged to head to other entrances.

8:43 a.m. update

There’s good news and bad news for anyone trying to get to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this morning.

The traffic is horrible – but, so far, it’s no worse than any other race day.

As of 8:30 a.m., there were no major accidents reported near the IMS, Speedway Police Lt. Trent Theobald said.

“Traffic’s not moving real fast, but that’s to be expected just like any morning when people are driving to the track,” Theobald said. “It’s a typical race day morning.”

Some race fans sought to beat the traffic. The first people in line camped out on Saturday night to avoid a rush when the gates opened at 6 a.m. Sunday.

Robert Walters slept on a Speedway woman’s porch after traveling 27 hours from Jacksonville, Florida. He rode a Greyhound bus to Indianapolis to attend the 100th running.

“I got up at 4:30 a.m. and walked down here because I knew there was going to be a long line,” Walters said. “It amazed me that it looks like it did back in the 70s.”

Walters said last year was the greatest race he’s witnessed in 40 years. Multiple crashes shook up the competition during the 99th running.

The excitement that year brought race fan Matthew Jacobs back for more this year.

Jacobs, who traveled from Van Wert, Ohio, was one of the first fans in line at Gate 1. He left home at about 2 a.m. Sunday to attend the historic race.

“It’s all exciting,” Jacobs said before the ceremonial cannon fired at 6 a.m. Hundreds of fans cheered as they passed through the gate while security kept a close watch on coolers, bags and other pieces of race gear.

8:02 a.m. update

Some late-breaking celebrity news:

IndyStar’s Dave Lindquist reports that while the ‘Bad Romance’ singer hasn’t been listed among personalities expected to walk the red carpet at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, she was spotted at a race party Saturday at Regions Tower Rooftop Terrace in Indianapolis.

Meanwhile, a late drop-out from country music star Keith Urban:

7:31 a.m. update

Things are looking bright once you get to the track.

And here’s a quick tip from IMPD police:

7:22 a.m. update

According to, an accident was reported at Lynhurst Drive North before 16th Street around 7:06 a.m. Traffic is stop and go, and delays are expected.​ Traffic seems to be flowing fairly smooth closer to the track.

7:07 a.m. update

Traffic issues are starting to pop around the track. Be prepared from long waits. Some areas are being asked to seek alternate routes.

6:53 a.m. update

Speedway police reported a pretty quiet night. Only two arrests made Saturday. Both were related to public intoxication.

6:45 a.m. update

The crowd is filing in but doesn’t look as massive as you might expect.

6:30 a.m. update

Indy 500 fans are pumped for the 100th running.

Previously reported

Good morning, Indianapolis!

This is it. Right now. Today. Pound that coffee, people, and pack that cooler because the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 has arrived.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Racing, yes. Celebrities, yes. Good times, yes. It’s only 6 a.m., yes. Where’s the coffee? Did someone say coffee? Where’s the Starbucks?

The race is a sellout. Hundreds of thousands of fans are expected. It’s still 6 a.m. at the moment, though, so we all need is more c-o-f-f-e-e … COFFEE!

We’re going to keep you abreast of the latest happenings from Indianapolis Motor Speedway and we’re going to have fun doing it. Races in the front, Snake Pit in the back.

The current temperature is 69 degrees with 86 percent humidity. Temperature highs are slated for a balmy 83 degrees with a 60 percent chance precipitation on tap. Sunday will be warm with times of sun and clouds. A shower or thunderstorm is expected late this afternoon. But that won’t stop the party. We can’t stop. We won’t stop.

Traffic is moving smoothly around the 4-6-5 with no major problems to report near the speedway.

Festivities begin with the Parade of Bands and the Borg-Warner Trophy March to the Bricks, both beginning at 8 a.m.

Grab your sun tan lotion, your glow sticks and your favorite craft beer. The first fan has breached the gates.

Aaannnd he’s on it.

IndyStar reporters Cara Anthony, Amy Bartner, Allison Carter and Joe Tamborello contributed to this story.

Indy 500 live blog 2016: Few arrests so far – Indianapolis Star

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