Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials float upgrades for oval as governor weighs funding bill

IMS would get $100M over 20 years

INDIANAPOLIS - As the governor weighs a bill to give the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a boost of taxpayer money, IMS officials are floating possible improvements to the 104-year-old landmark.

The Legislature approved a plan late Friday night that would loan IMS $100 million over the next 20 years from income taxes already being collected in the Speedway area.

IMS officials have discussed a number of possible upgrades at the famed oval, from lights that would enable night races, to replacing benches with backed seats and adding video boards.

"We want to talk about technology. How do we integrate technology better in this 104-year-old facility so that maybe our fans can interact better from their seats?" said IMS spokesman Doug Boles. "There's a lot of those things that we're going to think through in this master plan that we'll know here in the next four months what will make the most sense."

Workers at Charlie Brown's Pancake and Steakhouse near the speedway look forward to the extra crowds they hope the improvements will bring.

"I think that if we can get more events to come from that. That only brings us more business, and I think most people in this area love the motor speedway, so we're excited for that," said worker Shelly Baker.

The IMS will contribute $2 million a year alongside the $5 million a year from the state. They believe they'll get enough extra revenue to pay back the loan. If not, the Hulman Company has guaranteed to repay it.

The proposed improvements will take a while. Fans shouldn't expect to see most until the 2015 racing season.

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