The new scoring pylon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is bigger, bolder, brighter and a lot more flexible than its predecessor thanks to technological advancements. Think a horizontal video ribbon board in arenas turned on its side.
The new pylon a few yards south of the Yard of Bricks start-finish line on the 2.5-mile oval, was unveiled July 22. Manufactured by Panasonic, it features full LED panels on all four sides with multiple messaging, animation and video capabilities. Each side can be operated independently.
"We talked about putting it in for the Indianapolis 500 this year but postponed it because we wanted to take advantage of a technology leap," Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles said.
Boles said the steel frame of the former scoring pylon, installed in 1994, and the wiring will be recycled. The numbers and light bulbs have been saved, and Boles said plans are being formulated to offer both for sale to the public. There were 6,496 30-watt bulbs in the former pylon, which possibly would make keepsake Christmas tree ornaments.
The new pylon stands 92, 2 inches -- almost 2 feet taller than the former tower -- and includes 5,220 LED panels.
"Nobody has one this tall," Boles noted. "If you look at Homestead-Miami Speedway and some of the other tracks they'll run the top 10 and and maybe rotate a few at the bottom. It allows us to generate more information for fans in their seats of what's going on on the racetrack. I think the fans will see that we've paid close attention to our tradition but will give them a whole new experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
The original 78-foot-tall scoring pylon, featuring the position of 33 cars for the Indianapolis 500, average speed indicator and lap counter, was erected in 1959 and was manually operated.
Hawksworth, Montoya headline drivers competing at the Brickyard
Five drivers who competed in the Indianapolis 500 in May will be on the grid for the Brickyard Grand Prix, the Tudor United Sports Car Series event on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course July 25.
Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Jack Hawksworth, who started on the front row for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, will contest the PC Class race with Rocketsports. Martin Plowman, who raced for A.J. Foyt Racing in both the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Indianapolis 500, will compete in the same class with BAR1 Racing. Townsend Bell and James Davison also return to race at IMS in the GT Daytona Class. Sage Karam will co-drive the Telcel Ford EcoBoost Prototype for Felix Sabates with Chip Ganassi Racing.
“Really looking forward to this weekend with RSR Racing, and looking forward to working with the whole team,” Hawksworth said. “I enjoy the circuit a lot and am looking forward to a really great weekend.”
In all, six drivers who contested the Indianapolis 500 will race during Kroger Super weekend. 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and 2014 Indianapolis 500 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Kurt Busch are scheduled to compete in the Crown Royal presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard presented by Big Machine Records.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports received the Spirit of Sport Award from St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis for its dedicated fitness regimen, which also has helped build relationships that translates to the shop and the racetrack (see video below). ... Not lost in the scenery of the Honda Indy Toronto weekend, the city was hosting the Tim Horton's 50th Anniversary Owners Convention. ... "Turbo," the high-velocity animated feature film about a common garden snail who realizes his dream of competing in the Indianapolis 500 that opened last July, has had worldwide earnings of $282.6 million. The production budget was $135 million. A successful weekly Netflix series has followed.