That minidress is fabulous! Where did you find it?
A funky boutique in St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s one of two possible Rev dresses I got while at the Firestone Grand Prix.
Speaking of Rev, how would you describe that glam fundraiser to someone who’s never been?
It’s the best party around in the best location in town. One thing I enjoy about Rev is we have so much space. You can walk on pit lane, go behind the Pagoda, and there’s fun and food everywhere. People arrive wearing things like hand-painted dresses. A lot of creativity comes out in the fashions.
Best Rev accessory?
I usually run the Mini that morning, so I wear the medal with my outfit.
What’s your go-to race day outfit?
Something out there. I majored in fashion retail at Purdue but ended up doing sales for radio for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to stock shelves. I wanted to go to NYC. When someone asks, “What type of fashion is Beth Boles?” it’s gotta be something different. I’m not classic, not a hippie. I’m fun fashion. I do black and white on race day sometimes, but for races other than the Indy 500, I often wear my son’s [Conor Daly] team’s sponsor shirt with a fun Lululemon skirt. I wore a rhinestone dress of my mom’s for the 100th. Last year, I had black pants with a jean jacket.
A lady came up to me years ago and handed me these red high heels, suede, and said she had made them because on the toes it said “Gentlemen, start your engines.” I could use another pair like that!
Racing has been a big part of your life, well before you met Doug [husband Doug Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president]. Where did that passion come from?
I like to say I’ve been to the track ever since I was in my mother’s womb. My parents took me when I was little. My dad was a doctor, but he loved cars. My brother worked on a race team when Tom Sneva won. I was a 500 Princess back in 1978. The festival was more just a pageant thing back then, but we had a lot of fun. It’s a shame my dad didn’t live to see Conor drive his first in 2013. And the fact that my husband is president of the Speedway, he’d be like, “Whaaaat?” I worked the suite life for several years, so I did get to treat my dad to a great view from the suites.
I have to ask: How many Indy 500s have you been to?
This will be my 53rd, and I’ve never missed one. My first was Mario Andretti, 1969.
How has the Indy 500 changed since those earlier days?
There’s so much happening at the track now. First of all, Snakepit—all my kids, their friends, they all want to go to the Snakepit. You have concerts. And the cars are different, more professional. There’s been a lot of change. Young people now have so many things to compete with. Now you fight travel sports, the internet. We also have the two-seaters and people can ride, see what it’s like. Though time has changed, we still stick with the traditions of the anthem and “Back Home Again in Indiana.” People still crave that. It’s why people stand there weeping when they hear “Back Home Again in Indiana”: It’s the same as when they were kids.
How does it feel seeing your own son on the track?
It’s surreal. The most terrifying day for me is qualifying day. They’re trying to go as fast as they can, and they take out as much downforce as they can. I test my faith. Honestly, if I didn’t have faith, what am I gonna tell my kid, you can’t do that? You have a gift. Like my husband says, lots of people can drive fast, but only a small percentage can reach what’s happening on the race track. I have to trust that whatever happens, happens. When he led the most laps last year, my son and I sat by ourselves on the straightaway. I couldn’t believe how many people were screaming, and I was screaming just as loud. He’s leading the 500, a local boy, and I’m like … if he won it, they’d have to pick me off the ground. His father was a racecar driver. It would mean a lot.
Other than race day itself, what’s your favorite event during the month of May?
I enjoy the Grand Prix. The road course is fun. If you don’t want to go to the 500 because there are too many people, go to the Grand Prix. Here’s your introduction to IndyCar. More laidback, same drivers, but it leads into the crazy month. I enjoy Fast Friday. It’s terrifying, too, because my kid’s there. And I like the Mini-Marathon. Rev’s been a fun addition, too.
Fashion’s had a long history with the Indy 500—and you’ve had a role in that as well.
CARA [Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary charities] used to do a fashion show every year. It was their largest fundraiser, and we had all of the drivers and their wives and kids in the show. A lot of the wives wore amazingly fun fashions. We used clothing from Jacobson’s, different department stores, and we would sell 1,500 tickets each year. It was a sellout every year.
You seem to have an adventurous spirit! You’re ziplining in your Twitter cover photo, and you’ve competed professionally as a jet ski racer.
At the time, I was in my early 30s and racing against teenagers. Everything I do seems to be competitive. Doug and I like hiking up mountains, like the 14,000-foot ones in Colorado. I go up to Morse Reservoir and practice jet ski racing with my boys. They’re all between the ages of 19 and 30. We whitewater raft, race go-karts. My husband and I are always racing. I’m blessed to have the health to go out and have fun in life.
Your latest adventure: head coach of Heritage Christian High School’s girls’ lacrosse team. What’s that been like?
As mom to four boys, I suddenly have 23 girls. We’re a small school, 1A range. It’s tough to get victories. I was kidding my girls last year—“if we win state, Coach will get a tattoo.” Then we went 18-1 and won state. So I got a tattoo of the Heritage Christian eagle.
I don’t play lacrosse, but I feel like what I can give them as a Christian woman is show the girls that we can be fun and professional, and we can also kick butt. I want to be positive for these kids today who have so much anxiety. My adventure now is to enlighten them to love life and live positively.