The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on May 27, 2010 · Page I18
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page I18

Indianapolis, Indiana
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Page I18
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18 >> 5.27.10 BYRYANCHECKEYE SPECIALTOMETROMIX T heSnakepit has longbeena source oflocalapocryphal lore, withlurid tales ofdrunkendebau- chery, violenceand wanton hedonism that would shame Heliogabalus.At anevent that, for themost part,is family- friendly, thePit servedas a dangerous reminderof what exposure to sunandalcohol cando toaperson.TheIndian- apolis MotorSpeedway fought longandhard tofirst containit and theneradicateit,but at this year’s Indy 500, theSnake- pit returns. JesikaGunter, thecoordina- torforevent marketingfor the Speedway,is just oldenough to remember thebadolddays of theSnakepit.“I saw my first pairofboobs”and“my first maleanatomy there,”Gunter says.She was just achild. Now a youngofficialat the track,Gunterandhermarket- ing teamare trying to tapinto Speedway history toattract a youngercrowd.“There’s anew generationofRahals andAn- drettis racing,and this willbe foranew generationoffans” to “party andbe social,”according toGunter.While therace“ap- peals toeveryone,”Gunter hopes “tomakeit excitingfor the youngergeneration.” Therevival startedas an idea toput abeergardenin turn three, toprovide the tailgaters there with“all the things they’remissing,”according to Gunter—likea shady spot, foodandmoreliquidrefresh- ments should they exhaust theirown supply.Generalad- mission ticket holders hadlong wantedaplace tocooloff,and Gunter was listening.From there, shedecided tocreatea fun,memorable spot todraw inamore youthfulcontingent. “You don’t have tobearace fan tohaveagood time”in the new Snakepit,“but once you comeout, you willbearace fan,”Gunter says. TheoriginalSnakepit,inits 1970s-80s heyday, was anin- fieldgeneraladmissionlot wherepeople wouldgather to party first and watch therace second. “If you weren’t drinking, you didn’t belongin theSnake- pit,”longtimeIndianapolis Star EVENTMARKETINGCOORDINATORJESIKAGUNTERSTANDSINTURNTHREE,WHERESHEHOPESTOBRINGTHESNAKEPITBACK,INREFINEDFORM.[PHOTO:MATTKRYGER] SNAKE’SALIVE! TheSpeedway’s new party areapays homage to thelegendarySnakepit, albeit withjust alittleless bite

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