IMS crews already working on renovations for 100th Indy 500

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. (September 9,2015) -- On Wednesday the Indianapolis Motor Speedway showed off some of the improvements it’s working on ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Track officials say the changes will enhance the fan experience at the speedway, but even with the modern updates, the track will keep its historic feel.

Crews worked on the main grandstand Tuesday afternoon. That’s the area where IMS says fans will notice the biggest changes.

The upper-deck seating area is getting a news roof as well as new chairs for fans.

Suites at the track are also being renovated as part of Project 100.

One of the main entrances to IMS is getting a major face lift.

"Gate 1 I think is really going to be impressive. When people come down the new Crawfordsville Rd, around the new roundabout, it’s really going to make a statement that you’ve happened upon the IMS when you get here,” said Doug Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Project 100 launched in 2013- this is its final phase.

Some of the upgrades already complete include changes to the road course and the new high-definition video boards fans enjoyed at this year’s races.

"You come to the Speedway because of its tradition, that's what makes it special," said Boles. "So we didn't feel we could tear everything down and start over again , so we want people to come back and get some of the amenities you expect at a new stadium but still feel like you're at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."

"What was important here was that we take care of visitor amenities, that we offer opportunities for accessible seating (and) we modernize but do it in a way that does it with a sense of place and history," said architect Jonathan Hess.

Work is already underway, but they'll literally be racing to get it done in the offseason, and hoping the weather cooperates.

"We always have to do our work in between events, so come March, April we need to be done with all our seating to make ready for the 500, so we're hoping for a mild winter," said Hess. "If we could get a little warm weather, that would be great."

The speedway is using a 20-year loan from the state to pay for those renovations.

They’ll be making about $90 million in upgrades- many of them will be done before next year's race and others in the years to come.

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