Merchandise & Memories

Susan
By Susan Phillips

I have heard many comments about the lack of Verizon IndyCar Series logo merchandise to purchase for IndyCar events. I took to my favorite hobby this qualifying weekend to check out what was available to purchase this year. Unfortunately, I only found 2 items that had the Verizon IndyCar Series logo on them. Maybe that will change by race weekend–if not, Verizon or someone is missing a great chance to publicize their sponsorship of IndyCar. I saw some merchandise with the generic IndyCar Series logos. The fans want to embrace the new sponsorship with Verizon. My husband has several IZOD IndyCar polos that will never see the light of day again, lest he give free publicity to a sponsor who bailed on us.

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First of all,  it was next to impossible to figure out what to wear this qualifying weekend. It was 49 degrees in the morning, which was OK as long as the sun was shining. Otherwise, there was a brisk wind blowing and the threat of rain! The gift shop sold many hoodies and jackets this weekend. It is hard to remember sitting out in the elements and remembering what 49 degrees feels like. I ended up changing clothes 3 times on Saturday before settling on a windbreaker (which I love) from the Museum gift shop.

One of the things I noticed in IMS Museum Gift Shop is the increase of clothing for women. I think the marketing people are figuring out better demographics for the Indy 500 and those demographics include a lot of women who want to stay trendy in their race wear. Not to sound sexist, but I think my son wears the same shirt he has worn for several years. George goes with the polos–we buy patches at the track and sew them on 100% cotton polos we purchase elsewhere. As many of you know, he is not a big fan of the dri-fit. For women, I saw a lot of burnout shirts with IMS logos on them. As to driver-themed wear, there was a nice selection of Tony Kanaan clothing. I decided to go pink this year and found a pink Wing and Wheel hat and a bright pink dri-fit polo that I hope to wear on race day.

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In terms of menswear, it seemed to be more traditional. Of course all of the polos were dri-fit, much to the despair of George (and me–those patches are hard to sew on). The selection of driver-wear was pretty limited on the "men’s side." Maybe it is because IZOD is no longer the series sponsor, they brought some "trendiness" to the menswear. I didn’t see anything I wanted to buy for my son over there. It was interesting how they tried to put every sponsor on several of the shirts. The hats were pretty limited. I only saw a few of the driver-themed hats. Maybe since LIDS is no longer a sponsor, the hats will be pretty limited this year.

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In terms of souvenirs, I thought there was a pretty good selection. I got some fun tire koozies–I wonder what they will smell like when the sun hits them–will it remind me of the track? I also broke down and got an umbrella–the tiny one I brought barely fit both of us and our laptops and gear under it. We always buy the current year’s IndyCar logo Christmas ornament.

loot

In terms of die-cast, they had the new logo car, still at the 1/18th size, but the selection of driver cars was limited. If you are looking for TK’s HydroxyCut car, they had sold out by the time we left the track on Sunday. Hopefully, they are holding some back for race weekend. it has a little figurine of TK included. I had to purchase mine online from a die-cast vendor.

kanaan car

Near the fan village, the trailers of Ganassi, Penske, and Andretti have lots of driver merchandise to purchase. They have some really nice designs. The die cast cars seem to have shrunk this year from 1/18 to 1/24.

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The prices were typical event site prices. But with all the driver changes this year, it will be once again time to update your race-day wardrobe. I wonder if my son will embrace the Target red from the greens associated with TK.

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All in all, I found lots if things to buy (can’t wait to see the bill!) and I left with one Verizon IndyCar Series logo item for my son–one of the "Speed Limit 241"–that was one of his favorites from years past. Save some time for shopping on the grounds of IMS–the prices seem high, but the memories are priceless!

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7 Responses to “Merchandise & Memories”

  1. Nancy Gass Says:

    Susan to me IndyCar is so set on catering to the younger crowd, that they forget that the older crowd likes merchandise too, yet the older crowd has the bucks to burn. I don’t want a thin t shirt or a tight one to show every stomach bulge. I asked tou yesterday about your shirt you said you bought the patch a friend of mine made two rain coats out if patches. It’s sad when fans make their own clothes and they are better than the “official” merchandise.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    It is encouraging to see that Penske, at least, has driver-specific shirts featuring their cars. Hopefully there are such shirts available for other drivers as well.

    Though derided by some as being too “NASCAR-ish”, these shirts are both a long-running staple of racing merchandise across many different series and one of the best pieces of merchandise for promoting the series away from the track.
    A shirt that only says “Kanaan/Target” or “Hunter-Reay/DHL” doesn’t mean much to the average person. Put the car on these shirts and they are at least aware that Kanaan and Hunter-Reay are race car drivers and can see what kind of race car that they drive.

  3. Ryan Johnson Says:

    Great weekend, but I underdressed for Saturday. However, usually sitting in E Box Penthouses will pretty much do you in on a cool day (wind) I stayed a little warmer up there than I thought I would (b/c of a lack of wind?). I’m wondering where you saw the rainy forecast for race weekend? The only changes from yesterday to today for Speedway is the increase in temps (75/80). Outside of Wednesday every day is calling for sunshine or partly cloudy skies and a 20% chance of rain or less… Sunday is sunny, 80 degrees and a 0% chance of rain… We can only hope that forecast is accurate

  4. Lynn Weinberg Says:

    Susan, great info. I’ve been looking online recently and talking to other folks on Twitter about merchandise. Hopefully, Verizon will get some additional shirts in stock soon. Lots of people want to update their wardrobe. The pictures are great, thanks for taking the time to do this for those of us that weren’t at the track this month.

  5. Ballyhoo Says:

    Thank you, Susan, for the update on merchandising. Something to look forward to at Fontana.

    I had a question to you all about the die casts. I have a couple 1/18 scale Dallara DW12s. Both have the speedway set up. I haven’t seen cars available with the road/street course set up. Are they available and I am not shopping with the right vendor?

    • I didn’t notice any road/street course set up cars. Now that I can actually see this year’s merchandise.

  6. Thanks for this great report! They still had the 1:18 Kanaan die-cast at some of the satellite shops around IMS as of late Sunday. Does the one you ordered include the figure of TK? I thought that version was an IMS exclusive. Staff members in the museum shop told me they should get the bulk of the new die-casts this week. I’m sure you know, IMS retail is now handled by an outside company (Legends), thus some of the changes we’re seeing this year, such as vending machines in the main gift shop.

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