INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Motor Speedway is expecting a large crowd Sunday for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, the president of IMS said in a briefing Wednesday.
The speedway does not announce actual attendance figures, but Doug Boles said the crowd will be the best in 15 years, excepting last year’s 100th running, which was a record crowd of about 350,000.
Boles opened the briefing addressing security for the race in light of the Manchester, England, bombing, which killed 22 people and wounded scores at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night. The speedway has received no specific threats, he said.
Many security changes that first came in 2013 — following the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15 — will continue at this year’s race. Boles said security alterations in 2013 included changing gates, limiting what people could bring into the track and requiring identification for infield parking.
This year, however, fans will notice a greater presence across the speedway’s 275 acres of law enforcement personnel, both uniformed and plainclothes, Boles said.
By Thursday, speedway officials should know whether Vice President Mike Pence, Indiana’s former governor, will attend the race. It’s possible Pence will attend, Boles said, but the vice president’s office has given no confirmation to speedway leaders. However, the speedway is preparing as if Pence will visit the race, although he’s expected to attend only as a fan, not a celebrity participant, Boles said.
The speedway president also outlined general expectations for fans:
- Arrive early. The speedway is planning to have many activities to enjoy before the start of the race at 12:19 p.m. Events are listed on the speedway website.
- Parking is sold out inside the speedway, expect for about 100 Americans with Disabilities Act parking spaces. The ADA spaces, Boles said, can be obtained by calling the speedway ticket office.
- Don’t put the track’s 16th Street address into a GPS; it will send you to the museum.
- Coolers will continue to be restricted to 18-by-14-by-14 inches. What’s allowed and what’s not is listed on the speedway’s website.
Boles said he expects to present additional briefings on Thursday and Saturday.