Improvements being made at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Twenty days and counting until the checkered flag drops for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500.
When fans hit the track this year, they'll notice changes to the facilities and security. One of the most noticeable changes, an upgrade to some of the best seats in the house, the grandstand seating at Turn 1.
"Grandstands have been there since just after WWII and this is the first time we've been able to bring them down, disassemble, re-galvanize and re-paint them and replace what we had to replace. So, they're back up exactly like they looked when we took them down, just newer feeling," said Doug Boles, Chief Operating Officer with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"Several of us are larger than we were when the seating was first numbered. So, it's important they keep the seating up to date," said Walter Ford, racing fan.
Another change to improve access for some guests handicap accessibility.
"The first thing people are going to see when they come here is the Turn 2 family mounds, which is very popular for our families. We're going to make that much, much, more accessible for folks in wheelchairs and those who have difficulty getting around," said Boles.
But, maybe the biggest change fans will notice relate to security and the size of those all-important coolers.
"We are really going to police the cooler sizes this year. So, if your cooler is over 18x14x14, we're not going to allow it in and we're going to ask you to take it back to your car," said Boles.
"I think that's fair. I think you have to have some limits. It affects seating too so it makes sense," said Craig Baute, racing fan.
The changes may be a big deal to some, but to others, "I think I just want to see the cars race and I hope I see the winner," said Reece Baute, racing fan.
Another security change includes the track selling parking passes for the spots inside turn three on race day only. IMS says the $25 parking pass is priced as one of the cheapest around. It also allows them to keep better track of who's in the facility because the driver will have to register with a name and contact number to buy a pass.