IMS reduces capacity, works on improving fan experience

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Taking notice of newer stadiums’ bigger amenities, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is targeting ways to improve the at-track experience for fans coming to this month’s Indianapolis 500 and its other events as well.

Part of that effort has included the removal of almost 10 percent of the Brickyard’s seating capacity, most of that number coming from the Turn 3 grandstand and the front straightaway according to The Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin. Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles is also looking at adding cushioned seats in some locations and creating a number of “party decks” overlooking the track that can stage group entertainment.

It would appear that IMS has been taking notes following the 2008 debut of Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and the host of Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. Among other things, the stadium features 137 luxury suites, a pair of multi-level club lounges, and 14 escalators to help fans get around.

While completely matching that may be out of the question for the Speedway, its organization still knows that it must create an easier, more enjoyable outing for fans — especially those who have become used to the creature comforts of Lucas Oil Stadium and other recently-built stadiums around the country.

“I don’t know that we can have amenities that match Lucas Oil [Stadium], but we have to look at the whole seating mix and how do we optimize it,” Miles said to The Star.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)