Storms that blew through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway early Tuesday knocked down 61 trees, smashed a wireless phone tower and wrecked a small infield house and a tent near the infield hospital at the famed facility.
But none of that will affect the upcoming Brickyard 400 NASCAR race, Speedway officials promise.
“In terms of wind damage, this is the worst the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has ever seen,” said IMS President Doug Boles.
Thirty-one trees on the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course are gone, as are another 30 scattered around the infield and just outside the massive property at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road.
The golf course was closed Tuesday, but IMS officials hoped the public facility could re-open Wednesday.
IMS officials said a variety of trees were lost, which will give the venue a bit of a new look.
“People coming out for the [Brickyard 400] who are familiar with the facility will certainly notice a difference,” Boles said. “We’ve lost some significant trees. Some landmarks.”
Notably, Boles said, a huge tree on the south end of the golf course was uprooted and knocked to the ground.
“We won’t know until we cut into it, but we think that tree could be 120 years old,” Boles said. “It’s been out here since the days of Carl Fisher and maybe before that.”
Fisher was part of the track’s ownership in the early 1900s.
Tuesday’s storm knocked over every trash can in the facility, flooded two underground walkways, knocked down numerous signs, and submerged pedestrian bridges. Two trees fell on the infield hospital, although it sustained minimal damage.
Overnight security crews at the IMS were sent scurrying for safety during the early morning storm, Boles said.
Work crews started the massive clean-up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
“We don’t have a damage estimate in terms of dollars yet, but have a lot of work to do around here,” Boles said.
Still, the Brickyard 400 on July 26 and the three-day run-up will not be disrupted by the storm damage.
“The show will go on,” Boles said.