SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) – Security at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is using the Angie’s List Grand Prix as a tune up for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The Grand Prix will have a significantly smaller crowd. It’s expecting tens of thousands where the Indy 500 gets hundreds of thousands of people.
But that doesn’t mean law enforcement agencies are taking the event lightly.
“That’s the thing about the month of May coming out to the track, absolutely love it,” said racing fan Scott Logan as he watched qualifying Friday. “Love listening to the sounds of IndyCars going whizzing by.”
On a beautiful day at the track, fans fulfilled their need for speed while also getting an up close look at the men and women behind the wheel.
“Really taking advantage of going through the garage area,” he said.
The experience gave them a taste of what’s to come later this month.
“It’s like an appetizer for the (Indy) 500, it’s great.”
It’s a similar feeling for the security team at the track. Saturday’s race is like a dress rehearsal for them as they prepare for the Indy 500 crowd.
“For everybody that’s it’s involved in the planning of the month of May it’s a great trial run just to make sure everything is in the places that it needs to be and make sure that it’s working appropriately,” said Lt. Trent Theobald, Speedway Police Department.
One area they’ll be keeping an extra eye on is the new main gate.
It’s larger than before, so officials said it’s possible more yellow shirts and plain clothes security will monitor the area. We also spotted a new surveillance camera near the entrance.
“With the new Gate One area it’s going to obviously help our flow of pedestrian traffic into the track, which is going to be really nice to see,” Lt. Theobald said. “It’s going to definitely help move folks along, especially getting ready for the 500 race coming up.”
Lt. Theobald kept most of their security measures under wraps but when fans pack the track Saturday he promises they’ll enjoy a safe and exciting kick off to racing season in Indy.
“With the month of May and the 100th running of the 500 how could you not be here,” asked Logan.
Lt. Theobald’s best advice for tomorrow’s race and especially the Indy 500 is that fans should arrive early. The IndyCar race doesn’t start until 3:50 p.m. but there are several races before it.
See more legendary race moments as 24-Hour News 8 counts down to the 100th running of the Indy 500, here.