Beth Paretta, Simona De Silvestro and a co-ed crew comprising about 75% women aim to inspire a new generation of people underrepresented in racing.
Outside the 10,000 fans who got to walk portions of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grounds and sit along the front-stretch each day last fall for the Harvest Grand Prix, this month marks the first time race folks will have had a chance to lay eyes on Roger Penske’s $20 million worth of renovations since he officially took over the facility in January 2020.
Sunday, as many as 135,000 fans will be allowed to enter the track.
Some changes will hit you immediately, like the 104-feet by 20-feet video board on the back of the Pagoda or the repainted Turn 2 suites. Others, like the thousands of square-feet of new fencing and freshly-paved asphalt and thousands of cans of paint, merely blend into the rest of the meticulousness Penske has instilled.
Here’s a list of many of the improvements that have taken place around IMS during Penske’s tenure.
Roger Penske said he’s spent nearly $15 million renovating the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since he took ownership in January. IndyStar got a sneak peak of the facilities. (Photo: Courtesy of IMS)
Indianapolis Motor Speedway touch-ups
► 4,000 cans of paint across the facility (as of last July … many more have undoubtedly followed since) including the Turn 2 Suites and tunnel walls
► 25,000 linear square feet of new fencing – nearly two laps around the oval worth
► 400,000 square feet of newly-paved asphalt, along with restriped parking spaces and additional handicapped spots
► More than three acres of new sod
► New flags at every entrance and exit point
► Bold, fresh logos and signage for concession stands, bathrooms and directions
► Power-washed IMS Museum with a newly-fixed fountain
► Well-lit Gates 1 and 2
► New picnic tables throughout the facility
► Newly-planted trees inside and outside the gates, including ones transplanted that used to sit between Turns 1 and 2 to improve the sightlines
More on Roger Penske’s renovations:
Technology updates at IMS
► A 104×20-foot video board on the back of the Pagoda that will air on-track action, as well as in-depth data points for various cars on-track and other racing action when cars aren’t running at IMS
► 5G cellular data speeds from Verizon
► Ribbon boards to show the running order on all seven infield big-screen monitors
► More than 20 new video boards along the paddock seating area to give fans an additional view of the on-track action
IMS infrastructure updates
► Widening of the track’s western border along Georgetown Road, transforming the street from four lanes to two to allow for more space for fan movement in the track’s busiest corridor
► Control of the decoration and maintenance of the Crawfordsville Road corridor leading to the track
► Massive renovation of the Brickyard Crossing Gold Course facilities
► Replacement and reinforcement of the infield course turn barriers to prepare for the Cup series cars running in August
► A Victory Podium that allows the winning driver’s car to be elevated up to the top of the lift where the driver will be given their trophy
More on the Indy 500:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is upgrading 125 of its 160-plus bathrooms. (Photo: Provided by IMS)
Indianapolis Motor Speedway bathroom changes
► LED lighting inside
► Three-color paint scheme
► Threshold stoppers to keep out drafts under the doors
► New bright-yellow “male” and “female” signage outside
► Refurbished (but largely untouched, just maintained) urinal troughs inside men’s bathrooms
► Hundreds of new hand dryers to replace paper towel usage
► Triangle-topped partitions to eliminate places you might set down – and possibly spill or forget and leave – your beverage of choice
Email IndyStar motor sports reporter Nathan Brown at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @By_NathanBrown.