IMS: Brickyard under the lights could become reality with state aid

(Source: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is seeking aid from the state of Indiana in order to fund $100 million for improvements at the 2.5 mile track.

As the Indianapolis Star reports:

The plan would create a “motor sports investment district” to collect existing state sales, income and corporate taxes generated in an area that includes the IMS to help pay for the improvements, IMS officials said. The collected taxes would raise up to $5 million a year that the state would contribute to help pay off bonds for the improvements over a 20-year period, while the IMS would put up $2 million each year.

Legislation to enact the plan will be unveiled Monday by Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis. Approval by the General Assembly would be required before it could become law.

IMS plans to upgrade its current infrastructure and install new video boards, track lighting and modern grandstands. The total cost for the plan ranges from $70 million to $100 million. IMS also must renovate the track making it more accessible for disabled patrons as part of a deal announced last month. Money from the state aid would go towards these projects.

“It’s really about keeping this iconic facility competitive in the sports and entertainment world,” said Jeff Belskus, IMS CEO and president.

Of notable interest to NASCAR fans would be track lighting. Hot temperatures during the summer at a track which offers little to no shade has prevented some fan from attending the Brickyard 400.

Asked if the IMS would move the Brickyard to the cooler evening hours if the money went through, spokesman Doug Boles said, “There could be a chance.”

An estimated 125,000 fans attended last years NASCAR race at Indianapolis. In 2007 an estimated 200,000 fans attended the same event.

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