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Over 300,000 race fans set to visit IMS; officials assure readiness with government backing

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — The crowds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be pouring in from everywhere to watch the race.

Carb Day is Friday.

As more people descend on the track, officials are highlighting new safety measures.

IMS officials say there’s going to be a lot going on over the weekend. Law enforcement wants to make sure that the tens of thousands of people who will be visiting the track stay safe and that includes new technology and a large police presence.

IMS President Doug Boles said in a news conference Thursday, “It will feel like an Indianapolis 500 is supposed to feel like. It’s going to be that amazing energy that we all expect and love to see.”

About 300,000 race fans will be descending onto the track.

Boles says, with the help of local, state and federal agencies, they’re prepared to face the large crowds. New metal detectors at each gate will be used to detect weapons.

“What are fans will notice if they haven’t been here at all yet this month is we are focused on keeping everybody safe and this is the first year that we have metal detectors at all of our pedestrian gates. We have the open gate system,” Boles said.

“Do we have confidence that it’s going to get or see what it’s supposed to see, 100%? What we don’t know is how much of those other things that people might carry also sets it off. That’s why we’re really trying to warn people that if you’re bringing things with large batteries if you’re bringing a computer,” Boles said. “A lot of those things will set it off, but if it’s just your traditional cooler with your drinks and your sandwiches and maybe your radio scanner, you’re going to be fine.”

The Speedway Police Department says preparations begin months in advance for Race Day weekend. The department says about 1,100 officers will be in uniform or undercover, and multiple federal agencies will be represented. As always, the Speedway department also says, despite the security measures, fans should say something if they see something.

David Pekoske, administrator of the Transportation Safety Administration, said, “We’ve got about 30 federal agencies here providing support of some form or another based on their expertise. About half of the Department of Homeland Security’s operational components are here as well, so it’s a privilege for us to be here to support the chief.”

Fans may also see dogs that can detect explosives on the ground, and helicopters in the air.

Public safety leaders also asked fans to arrive early to keep things running smoothly at the gates.