SPEEDWAY, Ind- The Indy 500 is now fewer than 100 days away, and on Friday new owner Roger Penske announced some big changes coming to IMS and the Indy 500.
About 1,500 hundred people at the IMS fan party are already excited just thinking about May.
“Start of the race, the first turn, the hair stands up on your arms… it’s great,” said one fan.
The fans love the 500, so they absolutely love hearing that new IMS owner Roger Penske is pledging millions of dollars in improvements at the speedway.
“We could talk about a lot of things that might raise revenue, but you know we haven’t even talked about revenue,” Penske said.
The improvements are all about the fan experience. More than 30 new video boards will connect fans to the race from anywhere at the track, and better cell signal with 5G will connect them too.
“We are going to make this place entirely different than what it has been in the past from a standpoint of connectivity,” Penske said.
Besides technology, one of the improvements getting the most buzz is the bathrooms. More than 100 bathrooms are being renovated, and fans think this might be the most noticeable improvement.
“Oh yeah, I definitely think that, especially with the horse troughs for the guys,” one fan said.
Outside the track, the surrounding area will be improved too. Penske says driving into the town of Speedway will be like driving into Augusta.
“Roger is very interested in making everything top notch and providing an excellent experience and it’s exciting to see the money he’s willing to put in to do that,” said Tim Gropp, Director of Economic Development for the town of Speedway. “We’re seeing some parking lots that we’ve wanted to see paved for some time getting done. So I think you’re going to see Crawfordsville Road, Georgetown Road, blend into everything we’ve done on Main Street and just provide a much nicer corridor through Speedway.”
All these improvement projects and fewer than 100 days until the race, but Penske says it will get done.
“We will get it done,” Penske said emphatically. “Someone said ‘well, what if there’s bad weather?’ And I said “I don’t care, we’re gonna get it done.’”
Many fans at the party were also buzzing about the increase in the purse.