After a visitor to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was told he couldn’t enter the pits with his pit pass because of his wheelchair, he filed a complaint forcing IMS to update its accessibility options over the next two years.
On Thursday, IMS officials and U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett revealed the steps the Speedway will take to meet full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“Today’s announcement serves as a reminder that the march toward equality continues, and this Office remains dedicated to defending the civil rights of all Indiana residents,” said Hogsett. “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.”
Joined by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Director of Engineering Kevin Forbes, as well as representatives from the disability community, Hogsett announced the execution of an agreement between the IMS and the United States Department of Justice that sets a definitive time-line for bringing the 104 year-old Speedway into compliance.
“I’d like to thank the representatives from both the Speedway and the disability community for their hard work and dedication throughout this process,” Hogsett added.
In 1999, an individual with a disability attended a practice session during Indianapolis 500 festivities at the Speedway. According to a complaint received by the United States Attorney’s Office at the time, the individual claimed that he was denied access to the pit area even though he had a pit pass, and was told it was due to his use of a wheelchair.
As a result, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has worked with IMS officials over the course of multiple visits to identify what reforms and restructuring would be required to bring the facility into full compliance. All told, more than 360 features, elements and spaces at the Speedway were identified as areas to be modified or improved to meet the requirements of the ADA.
Throughout this thorough investigation process, the leadership of IMS has cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and many of the identified issues have already been addressed. Examples include a number of substantial projects over the last few years to redesign or refurbish the IMS corporate headquarters, three major parking areas, a number of vista and grandstand areas, most concession stands, as well as many of the public restroom facilities.
As part of the agreement, IMS will also submit a report to Hogsett’s office every 90 days for the next two years that provides updates about its progress toward completing the measures.