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IMS expecting largest Indy 500 crowd since 100th running

"This year, the 500 is firing on cylinders"
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Posted at 6:56 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 19:07:26-04

SPEEDWAY — See something, say something. It is a call to action law enforcement agencies and federal partners are stressing to keep everyone safe as race weekend in Speedway approaches.

A spokesperson with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway told WRTV they are expecting the largest Indianapolis 500 crowd since the 100th running in 2016.

IMS reported Thursday that less than 10,000 grandstand Indy 500 tickets remain. Sunday’s crowd will mark the second largest in 20 years. All Race Day IMS parking is sold out.

2022 marks the first time in two years without restrictions for the Indianapolis 500.

Upwards of 300,000 spectators are expected on Sunday alone and tens of thousands could be in Downtown Indianapolis on Saturday for the 500 Festival Parade and other events.

IMS President Doug Boles said some 1,100 officers will be on property during race weekend. Fans heading to the track should expect bag and cooler checks at the gate as they move through security.

The mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas are top of mind for IMPD and partner agencies when it comes to 500 security. Locally, Metro Police said there are currently no threats.

“Our plans are tailor-made for contingencies for the tragedy that occurred in Texas,” Barker said.

The 500 is classified as a “SEAR 2” event -- that’s the second-highest security level on the Department of Homeland Security’s Special Event Assessment rating chart, meaning it “may require some level” of federal support.

“Our presence will be very overt; we want our community to see that our officers are present and there to assist them,” Barker said.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security tells WRTV about two dozen people from their agency are involved in planning and hosting the 500. A spokesperson stressed it is not a law enforcement agency.

Starting Thursday, several people with the Indiana Building Emergency Assessment and Monitoring Team — or I-BEAM — will be on-site 24/7. They are also assisting in hazmat and fire and building safety roles.

“It really is an all-hands approach to ensuring that any threats to our community are intercepted as early as possible,” Barker said.

But it does not stop with law enforcement agencies and federal partners. The community’s commitment to “See Something, Say Something” is imperative in keeping everyone safe.

“A police department is only as successful as the community behind them. We cannot be in all places, at all times,” Barker said.