Today I was fortunate enough to take a few laps around the new road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the President of the speedway, Doug Boles. I’m very thankful that Doug (and his son) took the time out of their busy schedule to take me around the new layout. It was an extremely nice gesture, but if you know Doug, this shouldn’t come as a surprise at all. He is easily the best track President anywhere, and a genuinely nice and down to earth person. Anyway, he shared some interesting stuff that is going on right now, and what could be in the future plans for the speedway..
Work has begun on the curbing, but the high winds today limited the guys on how much they could do in that area. One of the first things Doug pointed out was the different lines that the IndyCars and motorcycles would be taking. They varied quite a bit, but each of them fit beautifully in the design of the course. The section between turns 1 and 2 on the oval was well thought out. It’s a very tight turn for the IndyCars, and a great transition for the motorcycles, heading into the next portion of the track.
Another thing fans will notice is the much improved viewing mounds. They are now higher, offering a better view, especially the one near the turn 4 infield. There, you will have an incredible view of everything on both sides of the mound. These spots will offer the best up-close view of the action on the track, and should be packed during the races.
There were a few changes near the entrance to, and on pit road. When the IndyCars come in, they will have more room, the interior wall has been pushed back, and another wall will be put up on the opposite side, separating pit lane and the track. Also, the fencing directly behind the pit boxes has been completely replaced, and it looks stunning. Doug said that the plan is to replace all of the fencing on the walls around the oval. It’s stronger, and will definitely help the overall appearance of the speedway.
I asked Doug about the main scoring pylon, and he said that what they want to do is take the time to get it right. They want the new pylon to have the look of the current pylon, but also have the updated technology which will allow them to display different sets of numbers, with the ability to adjust the size of them. He said it will also have a video board that will have on-track action, as well as advertising opportunities. The new scoring pylon will likely be put up just before the Brickyard 400 weekend.
The design of the course was well thought out, and will definitely offer some incredible racing next month. It’s going to provide a uniqueness to each type of racing, no matter which direction they are going. Coming off the corners, the cars will carry more speed/momentum onto the straightaways, which equates to higher top speeds.
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The Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis begins with practice on May 8, with qualifications on May 9, and the race on May 10, at 3:30 PM ET. The practice day on May 8 is free and open to the public.If you have not yet purchased your tickets for this event, I strongly encourage you to do so now. This is going to be an incredible event that you don’t want to miss. It’s not every day that you get to ride around the The Greatest Race Course in the World with the track President. Then again, most presidents aren’t as gracious and humble as Doug. Thanks again.