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How Does a Person who is Blind Enjoy the Indy 500?

Bosma Enterprises - 5/21/2018 12:44:56 PM

There are many options available for people who are blind to enjoy the greatest spectacle in racing.

If you grew up in Indianapolis, it is probably safe to say you are either a Colts, Pacers or racing fan. One of the most spectacular sporting events for racing fans is happening in a couple of weeks, the Indianapolis 500, and just like our sighted friends, the blind community will be participating in festivities surrounding the race.
The Indianapolis 500 is the most prestigious event on the Indy Car calendar, as well as one of the oldest automobile races. You may be asking yourself, how does a person who is blind or visually impaired watch the Indy 500? People who are blind enjoy the activities that take place leading up to the race.

I spoke with Brian Petraits and David Krieghbaum, two racing fans who happen to be blind, and asked them what they enjoy most about the Indy 500. Brian and David are both Indianapolis natives, and ever since they can remember, they have watched, attended or listened to the Indy 500. David, who grew up down the street from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has attended multiple races throughout the years. Like many Hoosiers, David enjoys the traditions that take place at the track. Some of David’s favorite traditions include the honoring of our nation’s veterans and how they pay tribute to past drivers.

Brian also loves the traditions, and how the race brings the city together. When he attends the race, he brings his scanner, a device you can also rent at the track. These scanners allow a person who is blind the ability to listen to all the race day action and all the build-up to the race including qualifying and TV broadcasts. For people who are blind, having access to a scanner can enhance their race day experience. The scanner also provides a behind-the-scenes experience with pit crews & team officials, giving you unfiltered access to what’s going on with a driver or car in real time.

Another option for people who are blind is to download a racing app on your smartphone. Although apps have a ton of great features, the downside to them is that they use a lot of battery life and data. Most racing fans do not recommend this option because the race is six hours long.

Many racing fans who are blind (and even most Hoosiers) listen to the race on the radio. Radio announcers do a fantastic job and paint an elaborate picture for their listeners. Listening to the race on the radio adds more to the event for people who are blind, and is very mainstream in Indianapolis. So, just like our sighted counterparts, people who are blind have similar race day traditions and enjoy attending the race and all the activities that surround the Indy 500. I hope I have answered the question do people who are blind watch the Indy 500 and enlightened you on the equipment and accessible features the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has implemented to ensure all people have an enjoyable race day experience. Other than attending the race in person, sitting back with your favorite beverage and your radio is the way to go.