IMS to implement entry plan to appease pissed off fans
An extensive study that included consultation with some of the world's leading experts in the field has produced a new gate entry plan that will allow fans attending events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to enter the facility with greater ease and efficiency after this year's Indy 500 saw long lines due to tighter security.
The plan, which will include more points of entry, more personnel working the gates and greater supervision of all procedures, will be implemented for the first time during the 2013 Kroger Super Weekend, July 25-28, that will climax with the 20th Running of the Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com on Sunday, July 28.
"We know that many of our fans experienced a slow entry into IMS on Indianapolis 500 Race Day in May," said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. "We're very sorry that this happened on such an important day of the year for all of us.
"We have spent a significant amount of time and effort developing a new gate entry plan that takes the necessary and important steps to ensure smoother entry to the facility - while still focusing on the safety of our fans. We are hopeful that this enhanced gate plan improves the overall fan experience at the Speedway, which is of the utmost importance to us."
The new plan includes an increase in entry gates from 11 to 18 by converting exit-only gates to entrance gates in strategic locations. In addition, 16th Street will feature a new entrance gate that will allow fans to enter the facility with greater ease.
The total number of entrance lanes for fans attending the race on Sunday will more than double, increasing from approximately 70 to more than 160.
By using the expertise of Populous, a company renowned for innovative stadium strategies, IMS will experiment with new entry procedures at Gate 9, at the intersection of 25th Street and Georgetown Road that will be similar to line queuing used at amusement parks. Most gates along Georgetown Road will use "funnel" entering, which will help address cooler and backpack checks before reaching the actual gate.
Additional elements that will expedite fan entry into IMS include the hiring of more staff with crowd-flow experience, better signage directing fans to gates and express lanes (for fans without bags or coolers), "air traffic control" on the roof of the Paddock Penthouse to help direct pedestrian traffic to less crowded gates via real-time audio communication to fans and the separation of will call, general admission and reserved seat purchasing locations on the north end of the facility. Improvements in print-at-home ticket scanning at IMS also will assist in smoother traffic flow at all future events.
IMS will enforce a new one cooler-per-person rule, and the size of each cooler can be no larger than 18 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches. Coolers may be hard- or soft-sided. Fans will be allowed to bring one cooler and one standard backpack or book bag per person.
IMS is also encouraging fans to plan to arrive early to ensure that increased traffic at the gates as race time draws near does not delay their ability to get to a seat in a timely manner.
"We are offering a free Brickfest Music Festival country music concert beginning on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. on the stage behind the Museum as an additional reason to arrive early to IMS," Boles said. "In addition we will have several other free-with-a race ticket activities near the stage, including a zipline, volleyball, giant slide, pool table and other games."