Kansas Speedway set to increase security after Boston tragedy

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If you’re heading out to the NASCAR races this weekend at Kansas Speedway, you can expect heightened levels of security following Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.

“People might notice a little bit of an increased police presence or something else, which is normal after an event like this,” track president Pat Warren told Bob Pockrass of the Sporting News. “But there will also be things they don’t see. What I would ask from our fans is to have patience when they’re at the gate, patience when they’re in the parking lot.

“Obviously, we’ll check bags, we check coolers, everything that we normally do. But if it takes a little bit longer this weekend, I hope people understand why that’s the case.”

Kansas is hosting both the Sprint Cup Series (STP 400, Sunday) and the Camping World Truck Series (SFP 250, Saturday) this weekend, with CWTS practice beginning the proceedings on Friday morning.

Warren would not go into specific details of his track’s security plan, saying that “we don’t want to share that information with people who want to do something bad.” However, Pockrass reports that Warren said his facility would not add metal detectors or change its existing gate policies. Soft-sided coolers up to 14x14x14 inches and school-size backpacks are among the list of items that fans are allowed to bring in, while firearms, sheath knives and fireworks are among those that aren’t.

Kansas Speedway opened in 2001 and can seat more than 81,000 people.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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