Speedway agrees to major overhaul in ADA settlement

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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to bring the historic structure into compliance with federal disability guidelines after investigators found 360 violations of federal disability law.

The settlement, announced Thursday afternoon, stems from a 1999 complaint from Dan Ward, who claimed that his wheelchair prevented him access to the pit area during an Indianapolis 500 practice session even though he had a pit pass.

As a result, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has worked with IMS officials to come up with a plan to bring the facility into compliance by modifying or improving hundreds of features, elements and spaces, including restrooms, parking lots, grandstands and dining areas.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said the modifications, which are estimated to take 30 months to complete, likely will cost the speedway “millions of dollars.”

IMS will pay Ward $35,000 to settle the complaint and will submit a report to the U.S. Attorney’s Office every 90 days for the next two years, updating the office on the progress of the changes to the speedway.

The speedway also agreed to permit follow-up inspections from Department of Justice officials and to design future buildings to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition, IMS has agreed to develop new training procedures for employees and to develop a policy that permits individuals with disabilities to enter the pit or garage areas with the proper credentials.

The speedway was built in 1909, well before the ADA took effect in 1990.

“For more than a century, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a treasured symbol for all Hoosiers, and this agreement ensures that it will now be accessible to all Hoosiers,” U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett said in a prepared statement.


  • The delay is embarrassment to Indiana
    I am embarrassed as a Hoosier that the Speedway has taken nearly 14 years to settle this complaint and to come up with a corrective plan.
  • Shameful
    It is shameful that it took a law suit and a multi-year Federal investigation for IMS to do the right, legal and respectable thing.
    • Bristol is in compliance!
      We attended the Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2011. They have excellent supportive measures in place for those of us in wheelchairs. The wheelchair spot seating allows adequate room for large electric wheelchairs like mine. They have individual handicap bathrooms inside the racetrack bleachers area. My husband had a nice "attendants" seat right next to my wheelchair seat and the racetrack seating attendants were very helpful and checked on us regularly to ensure we had a great raceday experience. We camped for the week prior to the race weekend at the racetrack's "Thunder Road" casmpground and their campground has nice bathing and toilet facilities. That week, the racetrack even supplied vans for those of us that are handicapped and my husband was allowed to ride with me everytime they took me back and forth to the racetrack or downtown for the driver's parade. Finally, I would like to add that some of the drivers and their booths down in the outside area setup for raceteam advertising are equipped so that I could participate in those events as well and the day that I went to where Michael Waltrip was speaking and signing autographs, I was one of the first people to arrive in front of the stage. I really wanted a "Lucky Dog" and Michael's autograph, but when Michael stepped out onto the stage, a rude man stepped in front of me so that I could not be seen {I thought). Michael being the kind gentleman that he is did see me and handed the man a Lucky Dog and had him hand it to me and did not give that man any of the things they were handing out. Then one of the Sharpie girls in the booth next to the stage saw that I was holding my Lucky Dog up for an autograph but Michael did not see me. She asked to hold my Lucky Dog and took it backstage and Michael's young lady that was helping him took it out onto the stage and he signed it and sent it back to me. What great memories! Boy, I couldn't have had a more pleasurable racing experience. I am glad to hear that the Indianapolis Speedway is modernizing their facilities so that others can experience the great Nascar Raceday experience.

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    1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

    2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

    3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

    4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

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