Indianapolis Motor Speedway trying out new ticket-taking measure to improve wait times
Fans headed to the Indianapolis 500 this weekend can expect shorter wait times at the gates. At least, that's the hope of Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials who are trying to improve on last year's long lines.
Security checks were stepped up at the Speedway last year in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. It took so long to get into the track that some fans only got to their seats minutes before the race started - or even afterwards.
The Speedway asked Purdue University to study how best to improve wait times and logistics. Fans complained it was the worst part of race day, and one they won't soon forget. Lines stretched on as fans waited to get inside as the race was starting.
New parking regulations in Speedway, a bigger crowd and new security measures all contributed to the problems last year. Purdue's study found something surprising: it wasn't the security efforts that held people back. The biggest delays were caused by ticket takers and the way they took tickets.
Ticket takers were folding down the stub and then tearing it off before handing it back to the visitor. This year, that won't happen. Ticket takers will be using magic markers this year.
"The savings is really - instead of carefully bending and tearing the ticket off, they're turning it over and putting a single line across that," a track official told us.
That saves up to 25 seconds a person. "It doesn't sound like a lot of time until you add up hundreds of thousands of people coming through the gate, it adds up to many hours - maybe as many as a couple thousand hours."
For fans, that means reduced lines this year. The new plan was tested during last year's Brickyard.
The study also did computer modeling to determine when fans should arrive and what to expect for wait times. For example, fans arriving at 10:00 am should expect a 15-minute wait time. But if you want to make sure you're there for the start of the race, you're advised to be in line at least an hour before the flag drops.
Indy 500 starting grid
Indy 500 weekend schedule