Crews racing to finish upgrades at IMS before May festivities

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INDIANAPOLIS – First it was the historically bad winter, and now the spring showers just keep coming.

It’s causing delays in the preps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, before the busy month of May. That’s when the track hits the national stage.

Seed, sod, and the sounds of construction equipment. It wasn’t your typical speedway sight Friday, but moving machinery is the new norm.

“A lot of the work that we thought we’d have done by now has been put on hold because the winter was so difficult,” said Doug Boles, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Boles said Mother Nature’s to blame for the delays. First the winter froze the ground solid and next came a slew of rainy days.

“It’s not just about the moisture. It’s not just the freezing. It’s everything that Indiana weather brings about that caused us to have to manage around and through,” he said.

The multi-million dollar road course renovation started last fall. It includes new asphalt, grandstands, and bigger spectator mounds, all for the first-ever Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Even the entrance to the speedway is getting a face lift, and the clock is ticking.

There’s a test run on Wednesday, April 30th.

“I’d like to be sitting in my office just looking at how pretty it looked, but unfortunately we’re going to be working through the night right until the green flag falls for that opening weekend,” said Boles.

Boles said all that’s left to do is cosmetic. Still, crews will be busy until the Grand Prix of Indianapolis officially kicks off the second weekend in May.

“We’re going to finish a couple of days before the race begins,” he said, “The track’s prepared, the curbing is in, everything to operate the event is here. It’s just now a matter of being able to present it the way we want to present it.”

The official race day for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis is Saturday, May 10th. Race events will be ongoing through that weekend.

The Indy 500 is Sunday, May 25th.

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