The clock struck 8 a.m. and the Indy 500 Snake Pit crowd raged. Beer for breakfast on the lawn, Jagermeister girls handing out shot-sized bottles, and of course, an overly-amped crowd at the front of the stage. A chilly morning began with small groups of tank-topped girls and boys sporting styles including the American flag to overalls, looks that would be weird anywhere else.
As containers of liquor and beer emptied, these small groups married into one loving bunch. The volume shot through the roof by 9 a.m. as homegrown Topher Jones and huge national DJs Diplo and Afrojack took turns enlivening the crowd. My challenge amidst the fray: To stay starkly sober as partiers raced each other to the finish line of utmost intoxication.
By 10 a.m., “Can I take your photo?” had become rhetorical. Of course they didn’t care. Who doesn’t want their photo taken while drunk? As it turned out, my scanning the crowd for good photo opportunities turned into miscommunicated stares exchanged with belligerent boys. “Why are you standing alone,” one asked. Holding back giggles, I explained my purpose at the Snake Pit—but I can’t say he comprehended it.
Girls rushed to the stage during the party’s third hour, eager to participate in the Snake Pit’s customary “twerking” contest—so far from Dancing with the Stars. I want to say their mothers would be proud. Perhaps the party’s accelerated buzz slowed down after my departure. That said, I doubt it.
Photos by Tony Valainis and Michael Schrader