Brickyard safety measures to reflect 500 lessons
Just days away from one of the biggest races in NASCAR - the Brickyard 400 - the hosts at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are hoping to prevent a repeat of long lines and frustrated fans seen during May's Indianapolis 500.
IMS officials will be talking about their new security plan this morning.
Basically, they need to move tens of thousands of people through their gates quickly, while at the same time checking bags and coolers to ensure safety. Part of the new plan calls for simply opening more gates, with certain gates usually reserved for exit-only now becoming entry gates.
The move is avoid a repeat of the long lines at the Indy 500. Fans who waited in those lines say they won't soon forget. It was a mess on Georgetown Road, with lines and masses of people trying to get into a handful of gates.
For the first time, yellow-shirted IMS Security and other security officers were checking every cooler and every bag. That slowed down the entry process. And so for the past eight weeks, track officials have been trying to figure out how to make changes.
They asked the questions. "How do we get folks through quicker with coolers?" said the Speedway's Doug Boles, "and does that mean we have to open up more gates than ever before?"
Boles said the track increased staff for the 500, "But do we have to increase it even more? And then do we have to educate better our fan about where to park, how to get in, and timing?"
Regarding timing - this year the 500 started just after noon, but the Brickyard starts at 1:00 p.m. so fans will have another hour to get in the gates.
Also factor in the much smaller crowd for Brickyard - maybe less than half the people entering the track compared to the Indy 500.
IMS is supposed to release details of the new security plan later today.