SPEEDWAY – In a place where speed is key, fans of all things fast faced long lines at this year’s Indianapolis 500.
“Some of my friends waited in line for 45 minutes or an hour,” said Dan Grill who lives and works in Speedway.
New security measures and stricter enforcement of cooler restrictions after the Boston Marathon bombing caused back-ups at gates getting into the track in May. Doug Boles with IMS said officials began reevaluating the day of the race.
“What we really wanted to do was understand what happened and get back in to fix that so the fans can come in and not expect long delays, but also make sure we’re keeping our fans safe,” said Boles.
At this year’s Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard fans will have 18 entry gates instead of the 11 used in May. Staff will increase from 350 to 600 people and there will be new signs directing pedestrians and drivers about where to go.
Fans will only be allowed one bag and one cooler per person. Boles said during the Indianapolis 500, spectators followed cooler size restrictions, but ended up bringing in multiple coolers that took a long time to search. Entry gate staff will mark the back of tickets as people go through the gates, instead of tearing off the stub.
People who don’t pack a bag or a cooler can use the new express lanes for faster entry.
“We’ve engaged some of the world leading experts, as far as firms to help us know how to get people in and out and what to do with our gates. We feel confident it’s going to be smooth but we need some fan cooperation as well,” Boles said.
He said fans should allow up to 30 minutes at the peak entry times on Sunday. If the revised security plan goes well at the Brickyard 400, track officials will likely implement similar rules and traffic patterns at next year’s Indy 500.