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Indy speedway replaces stage following inspection

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A temporary outdoor stage set up to entertain race fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been replaced after it failed to meet new safety standards enacted by the state following last year's deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

State building inspectors rejected the privately built stage Thursday, four days before the Indianapolis 500, after speedway officials couldn't provide required technical documents, WTHR-TV reported.

"They were unable to provide the necessary engineering wind and weight load. The speedway was very cooperative. We told them it was noncompliant. They understood, brought in another stage that is totally compliant," said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson.

Greeson said the speedway met the building and engineering standards even before they were made mandatory.

The new rules were adopted after seven people died and 58 were injured when high winds sent stage rigging plunging into a crowd of fans awaiting a concert by country duo Sugarland on Aug. 13.

The regulations also require each stage to be covered by an emergency response plan intended to get fans to safety before severe weather hits.

Under the speedway's plan, WTHR reports, banners and screens are brought down with winds gusting at 20 mph. At 40 mph, the speakers and canopy are lowered.

"There are tens of thousands of dollars of engineering analysis that were required to make sure we know mathematically the limits of that stage in a wind," said Kevin Forbes, the speedway's director of engineering. "At the same time, we are now moving people away. As the wind speeds pick up, they are moving people further and further away from the stage structure."

Forbes was involved in the creation of the new state rules. He said the plans include a clear chain of command to make sure decisions are made and carried out in an emergency.

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  1. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

  2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

  3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

  4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

  5. Oh wait. Never mind.

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