IMS leader talks of efforts to grow Brickyard 400

IMS Gearing Up for Brickyard 400

The president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway says despite the challenge of attendance, the Brickyard 400 continues to be a strong economic driver.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway says despite the challenge of attendance, the Brickyard 400 continues to be a strong economic driver.

The 26th running of the race on Sunday serves as the crowning event for the regular season championship in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series and sets the stage for the series playoffs. IMS President Doug Boles says the speedway is continuing to look for ways to bring more people to the track during race weekend.

In an interview on “Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick,” Boles said the race continues to be important to NASCAR, IMS and the community.

“More people attend the Brickyard 400 than attend an NFL football game and while we have 235,000 permanent seats and you put 75,000-plus people in the venue, it kind of looks empty and people give us a hard time about it,” Boles said. “It’s still a huge crowd. It’s still really important; the economic engine that is the Brickyard 400 is important. Hotels, motels, the taxes we collect there that go to help fund a lot of our things downtown, it is an important thing for this community.”

Boles says several efforts have been put in place to help grow attendance and awareness of the race. They include adding the BC39 race on the Dirt Track and providing more music performances similar to what is offered in the month of May leading up to the Indianapolis 500. Boles says the Dirt Track race has brought everything back to Indy’s racing roots.

“The short-track racing, especially in the Midwest and Indiana, is the heart and soul of motorsport. There are so many people that go to their local Saturday night track and they’d love to see an opportunity for that Saturday night, local star to get a chance to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to do it through midget racing has been fantastic. We had 110 cars entered last year; we’re going have pretty close to that again this year.”

Next year, the Brickyard 400 moves to the Fourth of July weekend. Boles says while that brings the race back to hotter temperatures in the summer, it presents a great opportunity for branding.

“The opportunity for the Indianapolis market and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to own the two biggest summer weekends, Memorial Day weekend and then roll it right into Independence Day weekend, it fits an awful lot with our brand; it certainly fits with the brand of Indianapolis and Indiana as we celebrate those men and women who’ve served. We’re going to build a lot of things around that weekend.”

Watch the full interview in the video.


2 Columbus police officers arrested, facing charges of misconduct, ghost employment

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — Two Columbus police officers have been arrested on multiple charges including official misconduct and ghost employment.

According to Indiana State Police, Dan Meister and Ron May were arrested for allegedly working off-duty security jobs while also working on duty with the Columbus Police Department. An investigation into the officers began in November 2018 after a request was made by the Columbus Police Department.

Lt. Dan Meister and Sgt. Ron May allegedly worked overlapping shifts for both the police department and Columbus Regional Hospital between February 2015 and August 2018. The officers were paid by CPD and the hospital for the same hours worked on multiple occasions.

Meister had overlapped hours on 52 different occasions and May overlapped on 62 occasions, investigators say.

The investigation was turned over to a special prosecutor and arrest warrants were issued for the men on Friday. They were arrested Friday afternoon without incident and taken to the Bartholomew County Jail, police say.

Both officers are facing charges of official misconduct, ghost employment and theft.

May and Meister are expected to face initial hearings soon.

Information about how long they have worked with CPD was not immediately available.