Long lines reported outside Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Added security measures are leading to long lines for fans waiting to get into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday morning for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The command center at IMS was investigating reports of fights breaking out as impatient fans began to cut in line, leading to arguments and possible altercations.
Views from Chopper 13 show a line of people stretching from the IMS entrance at 16th Street and Georgetown Road back to 25th Street. Fans reported waits of up to an hour to get inside.
One fan we spoke to had tears in his eyes as he realized he was going to miss the start of the race. Tom Shepard's family has been attending the Indy 500 for 34 years.
"We're pretty unhappy we're not gonna be able to see the beginning of race," he said.
New security measures meant fans were not allowed to drive in, and there are new limitations on the size of coolers allowed into the track. Security was checking each cooler before fans were allowed in.
Shepard's family has had Indy 500 tickets since the mid-1960s. Tom told us he's "pretty disappointed."
"It's a big tradition...34 years in a row for me personally to come to the race. I love this place. I've been coming since I was a kid and I've never seen it like this," he said.
The new precautions come in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Fans were warned that security would be tighter - but they likely didn't realize how much extra time it would take to get into the track.
Some fans are worried that Sunday's experience could have repercussions for INDYCAR well beyond the race.
"They're talking about raising my tickets next year another ten bucks over the $95 I'm paying now and they're making us miss the race because they want to check everything," said Shepard.
Allison Shepard says Sunday's problems could turn off casual fans.
"My concern is is that series has struggled in recent years to get enough fans to support it on a consistent basis," she said. For casual fans, "if is their first fan experience with the INDYCAR series they might not come back again."
"If that leads to the demise of the series that's disappointing," she said.
Allison Shepard has been sending tweets to top INDYCAR brass including Derrick Walker and Mark Miles.
"I'm certain people at the top of the INDYCAR series are not aware of what's going on on Georgetown Road," she said.
She hoped that IMS officials would "rethink their starting time and someone should take a look outside first."