Construction project at Indy kicks into high gear

HUGE CONSTRUCTION PROJECT KICKS INTO HIGH GEAR AT SPEEDWAY INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 18, 1999 -- Construction at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is moving along at a 200-mph clip since the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 7. While framework for the new...

HUGE CONSTRUCTION PROJECT KICKS INTO HIGH GEAR AT SPEEDWAY

INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 18, 1999 -- Construction at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is moving along at a 200-mph clip since the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 7.

While framework for the new Formula One garages is going up, old buildings are coming down.

"We're scooting along at a rapid pace," said Kevin Forbes, director of engineering and construction, as the claw of an excavating machine began to smash down the roof of the nearby media center.

"We're right on schedule, but we've had a very aggressive schedule. As long as we can maintain that schedule, I think we should be complete on time."

The goal is to have the new Formula One garages and suites, Pagoda control tower, media center and other new facilities in place and ready for next year's Indianapolis 500 on May 28. All of the new facilities also are being constructed for the first Formula One United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis on Sept. 24, 2000, at the Speedway.

Work moved into a frantic pace immediately after Dale Jarrett won his second Brickyard 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race. While temporary stands north and south of Gasoline Alley were being disassembled, other workers uncovered the already-laid garage and suite foundations on the very south end of the main straightaway.

These garages will extend nearly 200 feet south of the end of the old Tower Terrace stands into the beginning of Turn One. The 36 garages and 12 suites atop them will rise 28 feet above track level.

The permanent Tower Terrace stands that remained extending north to the start-finish line were quickly cleaned out underneath in preparation for demolition. The press building that also included the "500" Oldtimers and a couple other suites was cleared inside as well as the west accessory building within the regular track garage area.

The west accessory building will be replaced by new race team offices and restrooms.

The media building, which stood for 30 years, was demolished in one afternoon, the roof first and then the concrete block walls.

Forbes represents the Speedway in overseeing the construction. Sharing similar duties is Ed Woods of Bovis Construction, Inc., which is responsible for management of the entire development project.

"We oversee everything from management to design to the actual construction and safety of the project," Woods said.

He said there were some schedule changes made to fit around the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400, but now everything is back in the planned routine.

Along with the construction of the garages and suites, the pit lane area south of the start-finish line will be rebuilt to accommodate the F1 cars.

Bovis, which includes an office in Indianapolis, has had previous experience in racetrack construction. It supervised some work done at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., and the firm was involved with the original construction in 1992 for the F1 race now held annually at Melbourne, Australia. Bovis also was the construction program manager for the Atlanta Olympics.

"Which was on a little bigger scale than this, but very comparable with the foreign influx," Woods said.

There are eight people assigned daily to the Speedway, with additional support available in the Indianapolis office. Bids are made to Bovis on each project, the best one selected and a contract awarded by the Speedway.

"I absolutely will be at that first Formula One race," said Woods, who is an auto racing fan.

"I've been around Indianapolis for about 15 years, and it grows on you," he said about racing.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Dale Jarrett