Thousands of Indy 500 fans sleeping outside IMS brace for potential storms

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Potential storms this weekend have Indianapolis 500 campers hoping for the best, as they brace for potential lightning and rain.

If thunder and lightning do roll in, thousands of people may be danger. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) said race fans should have a plan for inclement weather, and will be asked to leave the grandstands if lightning does appear.

“If there is a tornado coming, we are staying in stands," said Len Pfeifer who is attending his 50th Indy 500. "One year they called to leave the track, and we said, ‘No we are not going to come back to a trailer park.’"

Pfeifer's family has a special celebration for him as he hits the half century mark of Indy 500s. Over the years, their group has expanded, as well as their competitive nature.

They have a special trophy for a game called “Shoes” that they play. It involves tossing washers toward a box with a coffee can in the center. Different landing spots count for points, and they work toward 21. Rain or shine, there must be a champion between his family and people from other states who play with them.

“We’re easy down here. We can roll with every punch they give us," Pfeifer said.

IMS President Doug Boles said every dangerous weather situation is different for fans, based on parking, and seating location. He encourages people to look at their video boards, listen to the PA system and to watch their social channels for the latest information while at the track.

Despite warnings, some campers remain defiant.

“We hold it down. We hold it down if we need to. If we need to manually hold down our tents, we do it," Tammy Fox said.

“If I had to, I’m just running," Calvin Smith said. "That’s going to take too long to pack up.”

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