Indianapolis Motor Speedway security changes for Brickyard 400
Security changes are on the way for the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"This is my 50th race," said Rick Bergman as he renewed his tickets at IMS Monday.
But he's hoping for a change.
"I know how mad I'd be if I'd missed the first lap," he said.
Bergman was talking about long security lines at last month's Indy 500 that had some waiting over an hour to get into the track.
It was all in response to the Boston Marathon bombings, but those more thorough checks of coolers outside the track - poking around inside coolers with sticks - slowed the fans' entry, especially in the hour before the race.
"We've never checked coolers in that way that we did this past Indianapolis 500," said IMS spokesman Doug Boles.
Ron Pitman, director of Guest Services and part of security planning, resigned. Boles says the decision was for personal reasons and not due to long lines.
"That person felt like it was time for him to move on," said Boles.
Now, change is moving in.
"We're going to think through additional signage," says Boles. "We had people who were confused when they got there as to where to go. Where the express gates were if they didn't have coolers. Having coolers open, things that would have made the process a little bit quicker."
Things also slowed because new street closures and no parking zones in town made fans later to the gates.
One thing you'll notice for the Brickyard 400, some gates previously set aside for exit from the track only, will be turned into entrance gates. There may also be extra cooler checkers and they will get more thorough training for the 400.
And some gate security works won't report until later in the morning, Boles says, "so that folks, as you get later in the day leading up to the race, are fresher."
Two weeks ago, Eyewitness News talked with a Purdue team that monitored security at the race day gates. It found lines got longer and patience shorter as the race neared.
"Guests could just minimize their line wait by showing up a little earlier," said Purdue Homeland Security expert Eric Dietz.
"Maybe we even change some of the activities that take place in the morning to give them a reason to be here early. So we have to do a better job educating our fans about the importance of coming early," Boles said Monday.