The mini dress is amazing! Where did you find it?
That’s the Italian shirt I bought Doug [husband Doug Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president] many years ago. I shortened it to a mini and wore it to the Rev with boots.
Speaking of Rev, how would you describe that glam fundraiser to someone who hasn’t been?
This is the best party in the best location in town. One thing I enjoy about the Rev is that we have so much space. You can walk the pit trails, go behind the Pagoda, and there is fun and food everywhere. People came wearing things like hand-painted dresses. A lot of creativity comes out in fashion.
Best Rev accessory?
I usually run the Mini that morning, so I wear the medallion with my outfit.
What’s your race day outfit?
Something out there. I majored in fashion retail at Purdue but ended up selling radio for the rest of my life. I don’t want to keep the shelf. I want to go to NYC. When someone asks, “What kind of fashion is Beth Boles?” it must be something different. I’m not a classic, I’m not a hippie. I’m a fun mode. I occasionally do black and white on race days, but for races other than the Indy 500, I often wear my son’s shoes. [Conor Daly] team sponsor shirt with cute Lululemon skirt. I wore my mother’s rhinestone dress for the 100th. Last year, I had black pants with a jean jacket.
A woman came to me years ago and gave me red, suede heels and said she had them made because the bottom said “Gentlemen, start your engines.” I could use another pair like that!
Racing has been a big part of your life, long before you met Doug. Where did that passion come from?
I like to say that I have been going to the track since I was in my mother’s womb. My parents took me when I was little. My father is a doctor, but he loves cars. My brother was working on the racing team when Tom Sneva won. I was a Princess 500 in 1978. The festival was more than a contest back then, but we had a lot of fun. Too bad my dad didn’t live to see Conor drive his first in 2013. And the fact that my husband is president of Speedway, he’s going to be like, “What?” I worked in suite life for a number of years, so I was able to treat my dad to a great view from the suite.
I have to ask: How many Indy 500s did you visit?
This will be my 53rd, and I’ve never missed a single one. The first is Mario Andretti, 1969.
How has the Indy 500 changed since the previous days?
There’s so much going on on the track right now. First of all, Snakepit—all my kids, their friends, they all want to go to Snakepit. You have a concert. And the car is different, more professional. There are many changes. Young people today have so much to compete with. Now you are against the sport of travel, the internet. We also had two seats and people could go up, see what it was like. Even though times have changed, we have stuck to the traditions of the national anthem and “Back Home Again in Indiana.” People still crave that. That’s why people stand there crying when they hear “Back Home Again in Indiana”: It’s the same as when they were kids.
How does it feel to see your own son on the track?
This is real. The scariest day for me was the qualifying day. They try to go as fast as they can, and they put out as much downforce as they can. I tested my faith. Honestly, if I don’t have faith, what will I tell my son, you can’t do that? You have a gift. As my husband said, many people can drive fast, but only a small percentage can achieve what happens on a race track. I have to believe that whatever happens, happens. When he led the most laps last year, my son and I sat down on our own right away. I couldn’t believe how many people were screaming, and I screamed just as loudly. He’s leading 500, local boys, and I’m like… if he wins it, they gotta get me off the ground. His father was a car racer. That would mean a lot.
Apart from race day itself, what is your favorite event during the month of May?
I enjoy Grand Prix. The walk was fun. If you don’t want to go to 500 because there are too many people, go to the Grand Prix. Here’s your introduction to IndyCar. More relaxed, same driver, but it leads to a crazy moon. I enjoy Fast Friday. It’s scary too, because my son is there. And I love the Mini-Marathon. Rev is also a fun addition.
Fashion has a long history with the Indy 500—and you have a part in it too.
METHOD [Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary charities] used to do fashion shows every year. It was their biggest fundraiser, and we had all the drivers and their wives and kids on the show. Many wives wear extraordinarily pleasing clothes. We use clothes from Jacobson’s, a different department store, and we will sell 1,500 tickets every year. That is the sale every year.
You seem to have an adventurous spirit! You’re ziplining your Twitter cover photo, and you’ve competed professionally as a jet ski racer.
At the time, I was in my early 30s and was racing against teenagers. Everything I do seems competitive. Doug and I love to climb mountains, such as the 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado. I went to Morse Reservoir and practiced jet ski racing with my son. They were all between the ages of 19 and 30. We played whitewater rafts, go-kart races. My husband and I always race. I am blessed to have the health to go out and have fun in life.
Your latest adventure: the head coach of the Heritage Christian High School women’s lacrosse team. What is it like?
As a mother of four boys, I suddenly had 23 daughters. We are a small school, 1A range. It’s hard to get a win. I joked with my girls last year— “if we win the state, Coach will get a tattoo.” Then we won 18-1 and won the state. So I got the Legacy Christian eagle tattoo.
I don’t play lacrosse, but I feel what I can give them as a Christian woman is show the girls that we can be fun and professional, and we can kick ass too. I want to be positive for today’s children who have so much anxiety. My adventure now is to enlighten them to love life and live positively.