NEW IMS SCORING PYLON
t might seem counter-intuitive to spend
a lot of money to make something look
exactly like the object that it’s replacing.
But there are few sporting venues in the
world with as keen a sense of their own
heritage as Indianapolis Motor Speedway,
so when the time came to replace the
iconic scoring pylon on the start/finish
straight, one of the main priorities was
capturing the feel of its predecessor.
“When we started thinking through
what we were going to do with the new
pylon, the biggest thing for me was that
it felt, at some level, like the old one,”
says IMS president Doug Boles.
“The new one is the third version of
the pylon. They’ve all had a similar look
and feel, and there is something about
walking into the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway on race day morning for the
‘500’ and seeing one through 33 with
the car numbers next to them. Once you
can replicate what people are used to
seeing, then you can look at how you can
improve the fan experience.”
So tradition lives on, but now as a
digital feature that can be activated at
the push of a button. Another button
press later, and the all-LED pylon (LEFT),
developed in conjunction with Panasonic,
can change colors to reflect track
conditions, display a flag for the national
anthem, and seamlesly deliver other
information to fans as needed.
“We knew what ribbon boards inside
arenas could do, and we felt that this was
like a vertical ribbon board,” Boles says.
“We wanted to make sure that we had
a lot of flexibility built into it.”
The pylon was lit up for the first time
on the Tuesday before July’s Brickyard
400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, and saw
active service during the race weekend.
During the coming year, video boards
will be added around the track with the
same digital capabilities.
As much an icon of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as
the Yard of Bricks and pagoda, the newest version of the
scoring pylon has received a high-tech, digital makeover.
The original IMS
erected in 1959. Its
from 1994 until
June 30, 2014.