Tickets to next year's Indianapolis 500 cost more, but at the same time the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is working to get more fans into the historic track.
About two-thirds of all tickets at IMS will have higher prices in 2014.
The 2014 Indianapolis 500 will cost most fans 15 percent more. Not one of them ordering tickets Tuesday complained to Eyewitness News. Tom Diaforli has attended nearly 20 500s and figures the increase added about $200 to his ticket order.
"Not upset one bit because I will not not come to the race," he said.
It is the best known race in the world and Chuck Schuman, another long time fan, insists it is competitively priced.
"Coming here alone is worth a little bit of money," Schuman insisted. "Having a terrific race is like fantastic."
The first increase in a decade, raises prices on the least and most expensive seats. In the weeks leading up to this year's race, tickets in the $150 price level, IMS spokesman Doug Boles said, "were going for $400-800 on eBay. So we believe at $175, we priced those tickets well below what the market will bring."
Bringing a car into the track will cost more, too. Turn 3 parking doubles to $50 and front row spots jump from $50 to $125.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also benefiting from a nearly $100 million state loan. The money, officials say, will be spent on improvements intended to improve what they cal "the fan experience."
Most fans don't get a lot of creature comforts. Aluminum seats, big screen TVs that don't seem too big and a sound system that can be hard to hear over the race day roar.
A master plan to make technological and physical changes to the Speedway is months from completion. The first installments of the loan may not arrive until November. Improvements aren't expected until after next year's 500.
"We want to make sure each investment here is more likely to attract more people to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to the Indianapolis community, so they spend more money in the Indianapolis restaurants and hotels," Boles explained.
Ideas for improvements range from lights for night races to easier ways to get fans in and out of the track.
Fans will pick up part of the cost of that more than $90 million loan. A new admissions tax, ranging from two to six percent, depending on the price of the ticket, takes effect January 1st. Fans can avoid that additional fee, by buying tickets early.
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