INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - From the moment fans arrive to the track on race day, they will notice some big changes.
IMS Director of Safety and Security Mike Bates shared some insight on what fans can expect.
“If you leave your house at 10-10:30, you’re probably going to miss the start of the race,” said Bates.
10:30 a.m., according to Bates, is the unofficial cut-off, meaning, if you leave any later you run the risk of missing Sunday’s iconic start.
“When they get to the gates, typically what they’re going to find is really three layers of people that are there to help them assist,” said Bates.
For the first time ever, IMS has hired a private security company to go through every backpack, purse and cooler coming into the speedway.
But they won’t be alone. Uniformed police officers and the traditional yellow shirt IMS employees will be staffed at every entrance to the track.
“The advantage this year is that we’ve opened many more gates than we have in the past, we typically have not had all of our gates open, all of our walk-in gates, they are this year, they’re staffed we’ve got extra scanners,” said Bates.
To accommodate this year’s sell-out crowd, for the first time, every one of the track’s 24 gates will be open. That’s 200 checkpoint lanes that will be used on Sunday.
“If you get to a line that’s got 100 people in it, move to another line. We’ve got 24 gates open this year,” said Bates.
Driving in to the track will be different this year too. Every license plate will be scanned as it enters and drivers should expect their car to be checked. There will be random vehicle searches and a team of K-9 units making their rounds through every IMS parking area.
“It’s all about being early, plan on how you’re going to move and how you’re going to get here, and just being real patient,” said IMS President Doug Boles.
Track officials are asking fans to leave two hours earlier than they typically would, to give enough time for long lines at entrances.
Gates one, six, and nine, all along the west side of the track, will be the busiest, according to Bates. Avoid them and head elsewhere if you can.