IMS Opening Day Sunday! Sneak peek at a few big track updates for 2015

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By Lindy Thackston

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 1, 2015) - As fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway watch the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 to see if Ryan Hunter-Reay drinks the milk again, or if someone else does, seeing who crosses the checkers first won't be a problem.

The 20 old video boards are now much bigger and much brighter.

"That’s going to change the way that our fans view and experience the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so that’s going to be a lot of fun," said IMS President Doug Boles.

Ninety-eight percent of seat holders will have a clear view of the new high-definition video boards.

The boards in Turns 1 and 4 are more than 3.5 times bigger.

T4 New Video Board

Boles has been posting these pictures of the video board progress to his Twitter account, along with the two other major changes to the Speedway.

Video Board Construction

"One of the things that we did in the off-season, we looked through the facility and tried to think through, what do want to do with our SAFER walls? Are there places that maybe we ought to extend them? For the most part, the facility is covered as much as we can cover it, in terms of areas that we think are exposed, but as we studied it, we decided in two areas, we would just go ahead and add some SAFER wall."

Safer Barrier Construction 2

"In a couple of those areas, we've never had an incident there in the history of the Speedway, but we think, theoretically, something could happen there, so we felt the best thing to do was add that SAFER wall.”

Nothing necessarily prompted that SAFER barrier change, but an incident did lead to another big change you'll see at IMS for the month of May.

"On the front stretch, the pit wall that’s between the race track and pit lane, we've actually raised it about 12 inches. Last year, at the start of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, at the standing start, we had some parts fly over the wall. So we’re just trying to make sure we can contain those things on the race track."

New Pit Wall

For Opening Day on Sunday, May 3, gates are open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Opening Day is the oval aero kit debut.

Schedule of Events

09:30am - Gates Open
09:30am - 10:45am - Verizon IndyCar Series Veterans Practice
10:45am - 12:00pm - Rookie Orientation Program
12:05pm - 12:55pm - Fan Pit Lane Walk
01:00pm - 05:00pm - Verizon IndyCar Series Oval Test Session
05:00pm - Gates Close

The Angie's List Grand Prix is next Saturday, May 9 at at 3:30 p.m. Practice for the road course race is Thursday and admission is free. Qualifications are Friday.