SPEEDWAY, Ind (May 20, 2015) - This year’s Indy 500 will introduce new security measures for fans spending their holiday weekend across from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in lot 1C.
The lot, commonly known as the Coke Lot, fills with thousands of annual visitors who camp and party all night leading up to the 500.
But after last year’s fatal shooting of 25-year old Max Levine, and other violent incidents in the last couple years, IMS officials are beefing up security with more police and several new policies.
“Our guests will see a significant increase in police officers,” said IMS President Doug Boles. “As much as two to three times as many as there’ve been in the past, and could be as many as 50 or 60 police officers wandering through there.”
In addition to more police, IMS security officials will be issuing special wristbands to everyone who pays to enter the Coke Lot. The wristbands must be worn at all times during their stay in the camping area.
“Just an easy way for us to make sure that the people that are there are people that have come to have a good time at the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and haven’t decided just to come there to see what kind of trouble they can cause,” Boles said.
The mother of Levine, Jan Bickel, says the wristbands are a good idea, but she isn’t totally convinced they will prevent crime in the lot.
“I feel like that’s a great measure for them to take,” Bickel said. “But I think people still need to take into consideration that there’s going to be people on that lot that are looking for trouble.”
Police and security officials will also be enforcing a new curfew throughout lot 1C, which requires campers to remain in their reserved spaces after 1 a.m. You don’t have to turn out the lights or stop the party, but you do have to stay at your camp site.
IMS is also installing 20 new light towers for better visibility throughout lot 1C. The lot has also been divided up into a new parking grid. Security guards will direct vehicles to specific parking areas when they enter the lot.
All the new security measures are designed to bring more organization and control to a massive party that lasts several days.
“Make everybody that’s coming feel a little bit more comfortable,” Boles said. “And also make it easier to respond to an emergency if we have one.”
As 50 to 60 police officers from multiple agencies patrol the lot area, IMS officials also urge visitors to keep their eyes open for anyone not wearing a wristband. If you see someone in the lot without one, you know they didn’t pay to get in, and you can alert security or police about it.