Indy 500 Puts Brakes On Stage

A temporary outdoor stage set up for concerts at the site of the annual Indianapolis 500 Memorial Day race failed inspection May 24, just four days before the event, and was forced to be replaced.

Officials said the stage replacement was unrelated to last summer’s Indiana State Fair stage collapse in the same city, but the safety standards used in the inspection were enacted by the state as a result.

Speedway officials were unable to provide required technical documents to state building inspectors, according to WTHR-TV in Indianapolis. It was the only one of five stages to fail inspection, according to the station.

“They were unable to provide the necessary engineering wind and weight load,” Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson told the station. “The speedway was very cooperative. We told them it was noncompliant. They understood, and brought in another stage that is totally compliant.”

Greeson added that Indianapolis Motor Speedway met more stringent building and engineering codes even before the new rules were enacted.

Under the Brickyard’s plan, banners and screens are brought down with winds gusting at 20 mph. At 40 mph, the speakers and canopy must be lowered.

“There are tens of thousands of dollars of engineering analysis that were required to make sure we know mathematically the limits of that stage in a wind,” IMS director of engineer Kevin Forbes said. “At the same time, we are now moving people away. As the wind speeds pick up, they are moving people further and further away from the stage structure.”