Famous Blue Envelopes of Indy 500 Tickets Racing to Fans

Indianapolis 500 fans across the globe will soon see another milestone in the countdown to the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge as the highly anticipated blue envelopes featuring Race Day tickets are mailed Thursday, March 10 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office.

The initial ticket mailing of more than 150,000 tickets includes shipments to all 50 US states, the District of Columbia and 36 countries around the world as race fans eagerly await Indy 500 Race Day on Sunday, May 29.

Countries where tickets will be mailed include Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, France, Colombia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Spain, Japan and Denmark – all home countries for drivers expected to compete for a starting spot in this year’s Indy 500.

It takes approximately nine weeks to package all pre-ordered tickets for mailing, from orders the day after the previous year’s race up to current orders. Hard work from employees in the Ticket Office and other IMS, INDYCAR and IMS Productions departments ensures the ticketing process runs smoothly and on schedule.

A few facts and figures about this year’s initial ticket mailing:

  • Number of tickets sent: More than 150,000 Race Day tickets and more than 180,000 products (includes Race Day tickets, parking, concert tickets, etc.)
  • Number of blue envelopes sent: More than 25,000
  • Number of US Postal Service trays to accommodate envelopes: More than 580
  • Weight of all ticket envelopes and trays in first mailing: More than 5,000 pounds
  • Hours needed to fill envelopes by hand: More than 880 person-hours
  • Number of working days to package envelopes: 43
  • Number of Penske Entertainment employees who fill envelopes: 34

Federal postal inspectors came to IMS with a large truck for the first mailing. Many IMS employees pitched in to help load the trucks for delivery Thursday. This year, they were joined by 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who helped load the truck with tickets so race fans can see him compete for his second Indy 500 win in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda in person.

Receiving an eagerly awaited blue envelope in the mail is a rite of spring for thousands of fans of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” But why are the envelopes blue?

In the 1970s, Indianapolis 500 tickets were mailed in brown envelopes with the IMS return address in the upper left corner. In the 1980s, a heavier-stock, gray-colored envelope was introduced to mail the tickets, with just the IMS Post Office box number in the upper left corner. A computerized printer also was used for the first time in the 1980s to print ticket customers’ name and address on each envelope.

When the NASCAR Cup Series was added to the IMS schedule in 1994, the Ticket Office needed a way to distinguish between the envelopes containing tickets for the Indianapolis 500 and the annual NASCAR race, especially if the Postal Service returned the envelope as non-deliverable.

So, the IMS Ticket Office decided to color-code the ticket envelopes for each event. Indianapolis 500 ticket envelopes became blue, Brickyard Weekend envelopes became purple, GMR Grand Prix envelopes became green, and ticket envelopes for other IMS events use a variety of colors, including red, cream, gray and yellow.

Tickets for the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 29, the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 14 and all other Month of May events are available at IMS.com/Tickets or via the IMS Ticket Office at 317 -492-6700.

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