Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens Thursday for practice

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Indianapolis, Ind. - It's the day many race fans have been waiting for. The gates to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway open at 8 a.m. Thursday.

The Verizon IndyCar Series teams get two practice sessions for the 3rd Annual Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Here is Thursday's track schedule:

  • 08:00am - Gates Open
  • 08:00am - 06:00pm - Ticket Office Open
  • 08:30am - 06:00pm - IMS Midway Open
  • 09:30am - 10:00am - USF2000 Practice
  • 10:15am - 10:45am - Pro Mazda Practice
  • 11:00am - 12:15pm - Verizon IndyCar Series Practice
  • 11:00am - 05:00pm - Ivy Tech Garage Tours
  • 12:30pm - 01:15pm - Indy Lights Practice
  • 01:30pm - 02:00pm - USF2000 Practice
  • 02:15pm - 02:45pm - Pro Mazda Practice
  • 03:00pm - 04:15pm - Verizon IndyCar Series Practice
  • 04:30pm - 05:15pm - Indy Lights Practice
  • 06:00pm - Gates Close

Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying is Friday at 3 p.m. The green flag drops for the race at 3:50 p.m. Saturday.

There have been $92 million in upgrades to IMS.

“We have a brand new catch fence, 15 acres of fence mesh and 38 miles of cable, then the entire new road structure and stadium seating,” said IMS President Doug Boles.

Project 100 will be done just in time for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. There will also be new club seats, adjoining entertainment areas, big screens, seven elevators and a brand new entrance that will replace the old gate that has been at the track since 1909.

“We just really wanted to celebrate what the Indianapolis Motor Speedway means. So, when people are driving down Crawfordsville Road at day or night, they cannot miss the fact that they are driving into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Boles.

Fans that have been coming to IMS for decades are all used to sitting in the old green folding chairs, but this year they will be sitting in new and improved seats, that even have a cup holder. Although they are fancier and more comfortable than before, IMS did not change the color of the chairs.

“I think that it is important to stay true to what we are about and those green chairs are part of the track and that is why we stuck to green,” said Boles.

The Speedway also added 1,000 seats in the Paddock along Georgetown Road.

“A lot of customers had been in those seats since they were built, so we raised the roof up and added three rows of seats up top,” said Boles.

Boles says the biggest challenge of Project 100 renovations was balancing the new and traditional aspects of the track.

“What makes us so special is our history and tradition, so if you are going to change things, you have to do it in a way that is respectful, which makes it special."

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