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SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — California-based Performance Racing Industry will Thursday cut the ribbon on its new facility in Speedway that will serve as its membership headquarters. The trade organization says the Main Street facility will provide various programs and services for the motorsports community.

Plans for the 42,500-square-foot facility were first announced in January.

PRI says the first phase includes office space for staff and areas to host gatherings for membership and the greater motorsports industry. A second phase will include the transition of existing garage space into a content factory to be used for content-generation purposes, as well as live and virtual education.

“PRI is dedicated to the preservation and growth of the motorsports industry, and our new Membership Headquarters and presence symbolizes that commitment,” PRI President Dr. Jamie Meyer said in written remarks. “Our new home is a hub for the entire motorsports industry, where everyone is welcome.”

The ribbon cutting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday followed by festivities such as an INDYCAR helmet display, show cars, driver appearances and private tours.

PRI is scheduled to host its annual trade show December 8-10 in downtown Indianapolis.

SPEEDWAY (Inside INdiana Business) – A private child development training center is planning to open its first Indiana facility at The Crossing in Noblesville. KidStrong operates centers that focus on brain, physical, and character development for children.

KennMar, the Speedway-based commercial real estate developer that manages leasing for The Crossing, says KidStrong joins the building’s other tenants, Pickleman’s and Moe’s.

“We are thrilled to have KidStrong as a business in The Crossing and are proud of the fact that their first location in Indiana will be in our development in Noblesville,” said Brent Benge, chief executive officer of KennMar.

KidStrong operates more than 50 centers throughout the U.S. and Canada. KenMar did not provide an estimated time frame for the Noblesville location’s opening.

Construction on The Crossing began in April 2020. KennMar says the development is now fully leased.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The town of Speedway has announced Tim Gropp is resigning as economic development director. Gropp, who was appointed to the role in 2017, is leaving to become town manager in McCordsville.

During his tenure, Gropp oversaw multiple major projects for the town, including the recently-opened Allison Transmission Innovation Center, the Abel Motorsports building and the $50 million Founders Square development, as well as continued investment in Speedway’s Main Street.

“It has been a pleasure to work closely with Tim during his capacity as economic development director. He has shown time and time again his commitment to making Speedway a better community,” Speedway Town Council President Vince Noblet said in written remarks. “The growth our town has experienced under Tim’s leadership speaks to his ability to oversee and manage development initiatives.”

Prior to joining Speedway, Gropp served as assistant director of economic development for the city of Fishers.

Gropp will officially step down April 1. The town did not provide details on its plans to find his successor.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — California-based Performance Racing Industry is expanding its footprint to the Indianapolis area. The motorsports trade organization, which holds its annual trade show in Indy, has acquired a building in Speedway that will serve as its membership headquarters.

PRI did not specify how much it is investing in the 42,500-square-foot building near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The organization says the facility will be used for content generation, live and virtual educational opportunities, motorsports gatherings and membership meetings, among other uses.

“PRI is at the forefront of building, promoting, and protecting the racing community,” Dr. Jamie Meyer, president of PRI, said in a news release. “The new PRI Membership Headquarters in Indianapolis will allow us to expand on the PRI Membership promise to unite the industry and remain a strong voice for the racing community.”

The organization says the new PRI Membership Headquarters is scheduled to open in May ahead of the Indianapolis 500.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Georgia-based hotel development firm has detailed plans to take over the development of a project near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that has seen years of delays. Hotel Equities told the Speedway Town Council on Monday evening it hopes to resume construction of the Wilshaw hotel next spring.

Hotel Equities says it plans to work with the current developer, Loftus Robinson, as well as the town and other stakeholders to assume development and management responsibility. Financial terms of the changeover were not disclosed.

The developer says it plans to maintain the project’s footprint, which features a five-story, 127-room hotel under the Hilton Tapestry brand.

“We are pleased that Hotel Equities is engaged in this development, as they have a proven track record of developing hotels at various stages and managing an exceptional hospitality experience,” Tim Gropp, executive director of the Speedway Redevelopment Commission, said in a news release Monday night. “Tonight’s meeting is an important first step in introducing the community to Hotel Equities and bringing this project one step closer to reality. We look forward to completing our due diligence and collaborating with Hotel Equities and the project partners to move this hotel forward.”

If the deal is finalized, Hotel Equities says it plans to complete the project in the first quarter of 2023.

Our partners at the Indianapolis Business Journal report Loftus Robinson paused construction in 2019 amid financial difficulties. Indianapolis-based MHG Hotels came on board the project in 2020, though it is unclear if MHG is involved in the deal with Hotel Equities.

You can learn more about the history of the project from the IBJ’s Mickey Shuey by clicking here.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A team from Germany has won the $1 million grand prize in the inaugural Indy Autonomous Challenge. TUM Autonomous Motorsport from the Technische Universität München recorded the fastest two-lap average of just under 136 miles per hour on the 2.5 mile oval track.

The event required each team to compete in a fastest lap competition that included an obstacle avoidance component. 

“Participating in the Indy Autonomous Challenge allowed our team to advance autonomous driving technologies, and being able to take first place after two years of hard work acknowledges that we had an outstanding team,” said Alex Wischnewski, team leader of TUM Autonomous Motorsport. “Our next goal is to win a high-speed autonomous head-to-head race.”

Energy Systems Network Chief Executive Officer Paul Mitchell says the prize money will go toward the university’s efforts to further autonomous technology research and development. 

“We know that the achievements of our IAC teams, alongside some of the best companies in the world, will certainly lead to the acceleration of Indiana’s AI and automation industries well into the future,” said Mitchell.

ESN says thousands of people attended the competition, included 350 high school STEM students. A livestream of the competition also saw more than 20,000 viewers.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Cleveland-based Sweeping Corp. of America (SCA) has completed its acquisition of Clean Sweep Lot Service and BLT Environmental Services, both of which are headquartered in Speedway. SCA says the deal brings its team to more than 1,500 employees in over 50 locations.

SCA bills itself as the largest power sweeping company in the country. Clean Sweep and BLT primarily provide construction and commercial sweeping services in the greater Indianapolis market.

“SCA is excited about our opportunity to strengthen our position in the Indianapolis market,” Christopher Valerian, chief executive officer of SCA, said in a news release. “With this acquisition, we will be able to build upon our existing service offerings in Indianapolis and continue our commitment to providing first class sweeping services to our customers.”

The deal marks SCA’s third and fourth acquisitions in Indiana and 13th transaction this year. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has announced this year’s Indianapolis 500 has earned the silver-level Responsible Sport Certification from the Oregon-based Council for Responsible Sport. The designation recognizes events for implementing social and environmental sustainability standards.

IMS says the council confirmed the May 30 race successfully implemented all mandatory standards, as well as nearly 40 of the recommended social and environmental impact considerations. The council says certification can be earned by taking a variety of actions across five categories: planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity, and community legacy.

The council says credit toward the certification for the 500 was achieved in all five categories.

“This is an important milestone for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as we work toward our goal of becoming carbon negative,” IMS President Doug Boles said in a news release. “As the world’s largest single-day sporting event, we know we have an opportunity to be a leader in encouraging other major events to strive toward sustainability and positive social impact. We are grateful that the Council for Responsible Sport has helped provide us with a road map to accomplish this important task and mission, which aligns with the goals and values of IMS and Penske Entertainment.”

Among the actions taken by IMS for this year’s 500 were the venue upgrades at were completed this spring to increase energy and on-site water usage efficiency. Other actions include growing the “Bike to the 500” event, improving physical accessibility for spectators, serving as a COVID-19 vaccination site, and donating more than 2,500 unserved meals to Indianapolis nonprofit Second Helpings.

IMS also completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory in collaboration with Texas-based Waste Management Sustainability Services, which the Speedway will use as a baseline to develop strategies to reduce emissions.

IMS adds it will also become one of the early adopters of the newly-released Responsible Sport Standard for Organizations, which applies to the year-round activities of organizations.

“IMS and Penske Entertainment Corp. impressed the Council with their effective management toward the important milestone of certification of the famed Indy 500, and the commitment to being an early adopter of the new Responsible Sport Standard for Organizations over the coming year will only increase the opportunities to create real change,” Shelley Villalobos, managing director of the council, said. “We are delighted to engage with such a proactive team that is demonstrating leadership at an organization-wide scale toward ever greater social and environmental responsibility.”

AVON, Ind. (WISH) — A Speedway man died in a crash Sunday afternoon near Avon, the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Monday afternoon.

Benjamin Melvin, 43, was the only occupant of a black Jeep that left the road. He was partially ejected from the vehicle and died at the crash site, the release said.

The crash happened shortly before 3:30 p.m. Sunday on County Road 200 North west of County Road 800 East, which is also known as Dan Jones Parkway in Avon and Hornaday Road in Brownsburg.

The investigation of the crash was not yet complete Monday, and the news release provided no additional information.

The man’s name was corrected in this story after an error in the sheriff’s office news release.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — The Speedway Lions Club has embarked on a project to repaint the town’s fire hydrants in a nod to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

On Facebook, the club is asking for contributions of $50, the cost of converting each fire hydrant into a black-and-white, checkered pattern that mimics the flag that signifies a race winner.

Any idea how many fire hydrants are in the town of 12,224? The Lions Club says it’s nearly 500, so the goal is to raise $25,000.

People and organizations can donate through the Venmo app at @Speedway-LionsOR, or send checks to this address: Speedway Lions Club; Fire Hydrant Project; 5503 W. 16th St.; Speedway, IN 46224.