SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Going green isn't normally fans' first thought when it comes to the race world. However, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is focusing on curbing the impacts the sport can have on the environment. IMS is debuting several changes this year.
"We've been known for innovation on the track," said Tyrone Garrison, vice president of facilities for Penske Entertainment. "We're now looking to innovate the facility, operations, outside of the track."
For instance, Penske has more than 300,000 trucks on the road.
"One of things that Roger said without being prompted is, 'We as an industry, we have to make a difference. We have to be sustainable,'" said Doug Boles, President of IMS.
IMS is making several changes. The most noticeable on the surface are hundreds of extra recycling cans.
"It's one of those things that you just don't expect in a sport that is all about racing cars. That sustainability is so important but especially to our fans," Boles said.
Penske's new electric freightliner will take race tires to IMS, complete with a new charging station.
"This project started as a 'what if,' followed by a bunch of 'yes, let's do it,'" Garrison said.
Firestone is showing off brand new tires that could hit the track at IMS as soon as next year.
"This material is much more sustainable. Not only is it grown in the U.S. as opposed to southeast Asia — that reduces the trips back and forth that you have to take — it's a domestically grown source," said Cara Krstolic, director of race tire engineering and production for Bridgestone Americas.
Firestone will debut the new, eco-friendly Firestone Firehawk guayule race tire during Miller Lite Carb Day's INDYCAR Pit Stop Challenge on Friday, May 27.
Gleaners is collecting around 2 tons worth of prepared, unused food from IMS that will go to local families in need.
A new electric mobile store will come to fans for race attire, made of bottles saved from a landfill.
"We're a thousand-acre facility. We go all around the country. So, there's all kinds of opportunities to make a difference. What we're doing is encouraging our fans, if they're not thinking about it. If the Speedway can do it, so can I," Boles said.
IMS is also adding several new bike racks to encourage more fans to ride to the track.