Race fans, businesses gear up for a busy month around the Indy 500

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 3, 2015) – It’s the middle of winter, but racing fans are already gearing up for this year’s Indy 500. A full list of events for the month of May was just released Tuesday. This year, practice is starting earlier than usual.

“The biggest change is May 3 it’s a Sunday, the first oval practice with the new aero kits,” said Doug Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It will be the first time anybody can see them on the oval here or anywhere.”

The Angie’s List Grand Prix Returns, for its second year, on May 9. Practice for the 500 will begin May 11 and run until 7 p.m. that night. it’s the first time the cars will on the track that late.

“We’ve heard a lot from our fans that it’s hard to – during the week – to get off work at 5 o’clock and make it in time to see anything at the race track with it closing at 6, so we’re going to try that Monday night and see how it looks,” Boles said.

It’s a way for fans to catch more action on the track, with a new way to get there.

The first roundabout in Speedway opened in November. It connects Crawfordsville Road, 16th street, and now, Main Street — a part of town that was more difficult to see before.

“We’ve actually had people come in here and they’ve said ‘Oh, we didn’t know you were here before, but we can see you now from the road,’ and you really can," said Joan Brown, the floor manager at Dawson’s on Main.

“I was very unsure of how it was going to go at first because of the race time crowd and how it was going to work, but just seeing how our residents and the businesses around here are doing, it’s wonderful. It’s working, it’s flowing,” Brown said.

And as customers flow more freely to Main Street, Speedway police say, it’s now a safer area.

“The roundabout has definitely helped with the traffic flow and with the accidents we’ve seen here in years past, there’s definitely been a decrease in those accidents,” said Lt. Trent Theobald from the Speedway Police Department.

The 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 is on May 24. For a full list of events in May, click here.