IBJNews

Indy 500 fans will find track security tighter this year

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Fans coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this weekend's Indy 500 will notice some changes in the traditional routine in response to last month's bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Getting into the speedway will be harder as officials tighten up access to the track, closing traffic on one popular route. More uniformed police officers also will be present.

But the biggest impact on fans could be closer monitoring of the coolers they bring in.

Coolers packed with beer are a time-honored tradition at the speedway. The track has long had limits on the size of coolers fans could bring in, but those were widely ignored as security officials herding tens of thousands of fans through the gates focused more on banning glass bottles.

Faye Fields, 29, who lives in suburban Noblesville, said track workers have let people in with coolers that took two people to carry or had to be pulled on wheels.

"If one of the gates turned you away, all you had to do was go down to the next one," she said.

Speedway spokesman Doug Boles acknowledged that enforcement of the cooler limit has been lax, but that won't be the case this year.

"Last year, we ended up saying if you can carry it with one hand you could bring it in," he said. But after two brothers set off homemade bombs at the April 15 Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 250, speedway officials "made the determination we're really going to enforce our cooler limits this year."

All coolers brought to the track will be opened and inspected, Boles said. Workers will check the size of the coolers and anyone whose cooler is too big will have to lug it back to their car.

There's a lot of pressure on Indianapolis to pull off a safe event because the race is one of the first big sporting events to follow the Boston attack, said Lou Marciani, director of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, based at the University of Southern Mississippi.

"It all goes back to one thing: What is the risk? The Super Bowl has a high risk. The Indy 500 is an international icon facility, an icon race, a lot of pressure," he said.

The Kentucky Derby earlier this month also took new security steps, banning cameras with interchangeable lenses and subjecting all attendees to magnetic wand scans before they entered Churchill Downs. Other events are expected to step up security as well. Marciani said planners are considering using metal detectors on everyone who attends next year's Super Bowl in New York and New Jersey.

Fields, who works a job in security, said completely securing an event such as the 500, which draws more than 250,000 people, is next to impossible.

"I think with so many people coming through, you can't stop it all unless you stop and look at every person," she said.

The 500 also has changed its parking policies and traffic patterns. Spectators who want to park in a formerly free lot in the Turn 3 infield will have to pay $25 and have security credentials to prove their identity.

"I think a lot of people will be surprised," said Bob Gibbens, 52, an air traffic controller from Houston who has attended the race for 44 years.

Boles said the parking passes should ease traffic backups and let police know who is inside the track with a vehicle. Police also will restrict access on a major route into the track and bar fans parked overnight in a lot across from the main gate from pouring through a tunnel into the track at dawn.

Marciani said he doesn't think fans will be troubled by any extra hassle this year.

"The fans have changed a great deal in the last five years," he said. "They know about Boston. The fans do. They're going to be patient."

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1

ADVERTISEMENT