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.