IRL: Indy 500: Tighter security in place for fans

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 21, 2002 -- As was the case with the SAP United States Grand Prix last September, heightened security measures will be in place for fans attending the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 26, Indianapolis Motor Speedway...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 21, 2002 -- As was the case with the SAP United States Grand Prix last September, heightened security measures will be in place for fans attending the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 26, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and CEO Tony George announced May 21.

"Public safety is our first priority, and I am grateful to the law-enforcement and emergency response community for their cooperation in reviewing and strengthening the plans for events," George said. "In the wake of the terrorist attacks on America last year, fans can expect additional measures will be taken. Some our fans will see; some they won't, but all of them are being taken to assure we are doing what needs to be done for the security of all."

Among the measures that will be apparent to those attending the "500" are:

*Strict enforcement of rules limiting any coolers carried in to no more than 14 inches wide by 14 inches high.

*All coolers, backpacks and handbags will be subject to security inspection at the gates of the Speedway.

*Additional uniformed officers will be stationed at each gate to monitor inspections.

*All infield parking will be directed to posted areas, and all vehicles are subject to inspection. Periodic sweeps of parking areas will be carried out by security.

A number of other measures will be employed on the grounds to tighten security during the week of the race and on Race Day, but details will not be released.

According to Jeff Dine, chief of police for the Town of Speedway, Ind., and chair of the Law Enforcement Safety Group that coordinates security for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's three annual events, Speedway and law enforcement officials have a model safety and security plan in place.

"(It) has been refined during the last 30 years, and it has been copied and applied at other large venues around the country," Dine said. "Federal, state and local agencies all work together here seamlessly, and all have reviewed and updated the procedures in light of our nation's heightened state of alert. Many of our efforts have and will go unnoticed, and that is the intended purpose."

Public safety officers at the Indianapolis 500 work under a coordinated command with the ability to communicate across agency lines.

"There is no better system at any large event anywhere than what we have in place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," Dine said.

Fans attending on Race Day should plan to arrive as early as possible.

"I know our fans will understand and welcome the additional measures that we are putting in place," George said. "Entry into the facility may be slowed, so it will be very helpful for fans to come early and even out the flow into the Speedway."

Gates will open at 5 a.m. (EST, or local time) on Race Day. The race starts at 11 a.m. (EST).

-ims-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony George