INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Doug Boles provided a view of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway rarely seen by anyone except the greatest racecar drivers in the world.
"We're on the same spot that the Chevrolet brothers, Ray Haroun, Wilbur Shaw and all the historic legends go,” said the Speedway president.
Boles is an experienced racecar driver himself. But recently, he ran some hot laps as the Speedway president in this year’s pace car, a 2019 Corvette Grand Sport. It’s one of the perks of the job.
"In fact, there have been times at the end of the day that I've come out here and done conference calls. The way these cars are set up, you just put it on Apple Car Play and you have the opportunity to stare off in space and have a conversation like we are now. It's one of the perks of the day,” said Boles.
Just like the fans he calls customers, Boles' relationship with the Speedway goes back to his childhood. He attended his first race was in 1977. Even before that, he was creating his own field of drivers on his parent’s kitchen table in Danville.
"Dad and I would sit in the kitchen and get 3-by-5 cards out and get the newspaper and write down the names of the drivers and write down their lap times and the speed and create our own little field on the kitchen table and move folks around."
No one respects the track’s traditions more than Boles. But arguably, no one has created as many new traditions either. From an EDM concert in the Snake Pit, to a Grand Prix race in May, Boles has tried to balance the old with the new.
"300,000 people who show up here on Race Day feel like they own part of it, that's how emotional they are about the experience. So you have the benefit of people that emotional. But the struggle is that you have to make it survive through the next generations and that sometimes means making changes, “said Boles.