INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Monday’s rainfall temporarily put the brakes on IndyCar practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
An IMS announcer warned fans of incoming weather about 45 minutes in advance. Track workers also informed fans of the forecast through a message on the video box.
“One of the things that’s most important to us is keeping an eye on the weather and making sure we keep our fans safe,” IMS President Doug Boles said.
Practice resumed after a delay that lasted from about 2 p.m to 4 p.m.
Monday is far from the first time weather has affected an event at the track. In 2004, the Indianapolis 500 was cut short after a tornado touched down less than ten miles from the Speedway. Boles was there, working for a racing team at the time.
“I ended up underneath the tower terrace because Tom Carnegie’s voice told us to seek shelter,” Boles said.
Boles said since then staff communication has grown stronger. Staff members now receive updates via text on weather changes.
According to Boles, a deadly stage collapse at the 2011 Indiana State Fair prompted heightened safety awareness.
“Ten years ago it was just about the rain,” Boles said. “Now it’s about lightning and thunder and wind and other things that could impact the customers’ experience and their safety.”
Boles said staff members are also in frequent contact with the National Weather Service. On some days, a National Weather Service team member is on site at the track.