June 18, 2024


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Indy 500, weather, start time, lightning, safety and more

Indy 500, weather, start time, lightning, safety and more

INDIANAPOLIS — In a morning operations briefing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s media center, track president Doug Pauls told reporters that track and race officials are tracking a possible severe storm that could include lightning and is likely to impact the start of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

Here’s what you need to know from the Bulls’ morning update:

Where is the storm now?

As of 6:20 a.m. ET, the first of two waves of storms to hit the IMS were around St. Louis. According to forecasters working the track, this storm will likely hit between noon Sunday and 1 p.m., with some light rain likely to land before the actual storms develop.

As of Saturday evening, this first wave looked like it might hit IMS at 2-3 p.m., but those models have changed, Polis said.

“Our plan now is to continue to monitor that storm. We think we will experience some type of weather at some point today,” Pauls said. “Our biggest concern is not the rain, as much as it is the lightning and making sure our customers are safe on the highway.

“The next couple of hours will determine when this storm could hit Indianapolis, and we will want to make sure we inform our customers and let them know where we stand (in terms of changing the day’s schedule) to give them time to decide what they want.” “To do — whether they stay at the Speedway or whether they want to stay in their cars, or frankly whether they want to wait at home until they see how this weather comes together.”

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IMS will be proactive about lightning threats

Although fans may be familiar with the typical 8-mile rule (lightning within that range can temporarily postpone or cancel youth sporting events), IMS says it will make calls to clear stands much faster.

Polis said weather radars will be displayed on video screens around the property so fans can monitor and act accordingly.

“As we start to see this storm develop, we will start to think about asking people to leave the stands much earlier than an 8-mile radius, so they can implement their safety plan,” Polis said. “We have another 120 minutes to see how this storm develops, and then we will make another decision about what the right thing to do is keep our customers safe.”

IMS will alert fans about weather and location updates through its public address system and on its video boards. Fans can also text “Indy500” to 67283 to send alerts to their phones.

What does this mean for the Indy 500 start time?

With the green flag scheduled for 12:45 p.m. ET and rain likely to arrive by noon, there is a distinct possibility that the 500 will not start as scheduled, Boles said. On Saturday night, IMS, NBC and its partners discussed moving the start of the race to 12:15 p.m

“But when it looked like this storm might hit at noon, it didn’t make sense to do it,” Pauls said. “The last thing we wanted to do was move the time forward until 12:15 p.m., so customers would come here waiting for the pre-race ceremony, and then sometime before that we would tell them they needed to leave because of the weather.

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“When it looked like these storms could hit us as late as 2 to 3 p.m., (moving the start) 30 minutes would have really helped us, but given where they’re tracking, it doesn’t make sense to move them at all because we could put ourselves in a worse situation.” “

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What will happen to the Indy 500 pre-race ceremonies?

Driver introductions are scheduled this morning at 11:47 a.m., just under an hour before the scheduled green flag drops. The emotional portions begin at 12:11 p.m. with “America the Beautiful,” and this is where Paul said the program will likely cut off.

“The most important part for people is the last half hour,” Paul said. “You start thinking back from ‘command (to start the engines)’ backwards. I think by 9:30 a.m., we’ll definitely have a decision on where we’re going with these items. If it’s just rain, we’ll usually be able to get through We pre-race up to the normal stopping point which is before those last important parts of the tempo and then we move to those points as we get closer to the start or restart of the race.

“So it comes down to how much other stuff we put on hold.”

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Paul: “Make decisions to keep you safe”

Paul closed with this message to the masses:

“We ask our customers to think about ‘Where can I park? How comfortable am I?” Some people may not feel comfortable sitting in the stands for a long time before this situation occurs. Think about where you are standing and where you are now. Maybe where you are currently is not the IMS location and you want to sit and wait. These pieces Important because this place is very big.

“We’re asking our customers to look at the weather, watch the radar, listen to where we are and make the decision that will keep them safest. This storm is very easy to see. You can see the red in this storm. Hopefully it will break up or go away by the time it gets here But this won’t be a pop-up storm.

Polis also said race officials won’t be too concerned with weather monitoring or warnings when it comes to making decisions on Sunday morning. He said the next appointment should come by 10am

“I see a big red dot coming here. It’s got lightning, and the most important thing we can do is let the fans know and stay informed,” Boles said. “We rely on what we see in real time to make sure we can make the best decisions for our fans, regardless of someone else’s opinion.”