New IMS scoring pylon combines old and new
INDIANAPOLIS – When a race goes green at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a lot more fans are going to know it instantly.
The third-generation scoring pylon was unveiled Tuesday on the main straightaway and among the many tricks on the full-LED-paneled pylon is the ability to completely flash with green lights. Or yellow. Or with an American flag look for pre-race.
And then, in a blink, the 92-foot, 4-inch pylon can look just like the one that was removed last month after 20 years of service, documenting the lap count and running order of 33 cars on the track.
“We wanted to generate more information, to give more information to the fans in their seats,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles.
“That old pylon was iconic, so we wanted to make sure the size was similar – we’re about two feet taller and three inches wider (with the new pylon) – but we wanted the ability to light it like everybody’s used to, especially for the Indianapolis 500.”
For the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com, the pylon can display the top 10 on the track while also circulating through spots 11 through 43. It can also provide enhanced stats information like lap times, miles per hour and time behind the leader.
Needless to say, that’s a far cry from the pylon erected in 1994 that stood sentry over the first 20 Brickyard 400s, two decades of Indianapolis 500s and other events. That pylon, powered by 6,496 30-watt light bulbs, could only display basic race scoring with a space at the top for race logos.
The new pylon can fully light up with “Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” race logos or other digital artwork. The possibilities are considerable.
“I think the fans, even fans that are a little concerned about it, are going to find that we’ve done a great job of paying real close attention to our tradition but also giving them something that makes their experience here at the Speedway better,” Boles said.
Looking at the new Panasonic-built model, it’s hard to fathom the first IMS pylon that went up in 1959 and was manually operated. More than a half-century later, the pylon now has animation and video capabilities.
And the enhancements at IMS won’t stop there. Boles added that in the coming year, video boards around the track will be added that have the same digital capabilities.