Indy's Yellow Army
Chances are anyone who’s been to Indianapolis Motor Speedway has had a close encounter with a “yellow shirt.”
Track officials refer to them as the Safety Patrol, but Indy insiders have stuck the yellow label on them because, while appreciative of their tireless efforts, they can go a lot overboard while parking cars or ushering around pedestrians.
And the yellow shirts are everywhere — on the surrounding streets, outside and inside the track, in the paddock, the grandstands, on the Pagoda and probably guarding the seventh green of Brickyard Crossing. It seems like every 15 feet there’s a yellow shirt keeping things safe for the public.
“More than 2,000,” Indy confirmed, work the major events — the Indy 500, Allstate 400 and today’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix for MotoGP bikes.
“There’s a lot of them,” said IMS exec Mel Harder. “When it’s race day, when the stands are full, they become pretty passionate about their jobs.”
For the first time in 99 years, motorcycles will roar down the Brickyard’s famed frontstretch with today’s inaugural running of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.
“It’ll be great for thrill seekers who want to see a bike go 200 mph down the frontstretch, lean it over and scrape their knee on the asphalt,” IMS president Joie Chitwood said.
Four American riders, including Red Bull athlete and 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden, will battle past champions Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner around the course that uses part of the oval. Unlike when Formula One ran there, MotoGP bikes will race in a counterclockwise direction, with a new series of four turns just after the start-finish line. High-speed esses also replaced the double-hairpin Hulman Straight.
At Loudon: Weather permitting, Brian Vickers’ No. 83 and AJ Allmendinger’s No. 84 will roll off 16th and 34th, respectively, in today’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2 p.m. ET, ABC).
At Salem: Scott Speed finished eighth in Saturday night’s ARCA race in Salem, Ind. It was yet another top-10 finish for Speed, whose championship lead swelled to 90 points over Ricky Stenhouse Jr.