INDIANAPOLIS – Sarah Fisher got to be the Guinea Pig on Wednesday afternoon as she piloted one of her USAC Midgets around the newly constructed dirt track inside of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. Fisher, put on a show for members of the local media in her No. 67 Midget in taking several hot laps around the .25-mile track inside of Turn 3 of the world’s most famous speedway.
Once she was done with the ceremonial laps, Fisher spoke to reporters on how fun the track was to drive and while it may be a bit on the dry side at the moment, see has no doubt that the people working on the track will get into pristine condition for next weeks inaugural Driven2SaveLives BC39 presented by NOS Energy Drink.
One of the things that they’ll do between now and next Wednesday’s hot laps will be to add moisture into the track to make it race better. Fisher says that once that’s done, there will be multiple grooves of racing to work with.
Plus, Levi Jones, one of the most accomplished race drivers in USAC and tied for the second-most USAC National Driving championships, and currently the National Midget Racing Director for the United States Auto Club tested a Sprint Car on the track on Tuesday. Jones, said that his recommendation would be to add a little more banking in Turns 1 and 3 which will only improve the racing even more. Doug Boles, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway told me that they’ll work on doing just that and have this track ready for next week.
We have hot laps pic.twitter.com/UNlsleztNV
— Eric Smith (@Eric_RaceReview) August 29, 2018
Reece O’Connor of Kokomo Speedway is overseeing the track design and layout and supervising the construction. Kokomo has always produced some of the best racing that USAC can offer, so with IMS’ resources and Kokomo’s brain trust running the show, expect to see a very racy track for next weeks action.
On top of all of this, I was able to talk to Boles about some key planning for next week.
In terms of ticket sales, he said that approximately 8,200 tickets were sold at the moment for the two day show. While Thursday’s feature has more tickets sold over Wednesday’s action, there’s still expected to be a great turnout for both nights. The main grandstand by the track, Shaw Grandstand, seats around 5,200 spectators.
In terms of lighting, obviously IMS doesn’t have permanent lighting fixtures at the track, so Boles said that IMS will use some of the Musco Lighting fixtures that are currently being used right now over at Lucas Oil Raceway for this weekend’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Once that event ends on Monday, they’ll be ushered for use for the Sept. 5 and Sept. 6 races at IMS.
That led to another conversation with Boles about noise ordinances. There hasn’t been racing at night around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ever. The track is surrounded by neighborhoods. So, what kind of ordinances are in place? Boles said that the city of Indianapolis has a noise ordinance curfew of 10 p.m. locally but the track itself is part of Speedway. The town of Speedway’s noise ordinance goes into effect at 11 p.m. locally. Boles, said that their goal to to meet the Indianapolis noise ordinance time and get everything done by 10 p.m. ET on both nights next week. While they technically could go to 11, he doesn’t want to be a bad neighbor.
That’s an interesting point to add to if IMS ever gets lights for the Brickyard 400 in the future, it sounds like the race has to be done by 10 or 11 p.m. locally.
What about TV?
Boles said that speedshifttv.com will air both nights of action online in real time. But, NBCSN will also be onsite to tape action from both nights and turn that into a condensed one-hour feature to air on Friday night. While the deal isn’t signed with NBC Sports just yet, Boles said that he has a handshake deal in place and he’s 99-percent sure it’s going to happen.