Penske focused on year-round entertainment at IMS
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is renowned for its blistering speeds and heart-stopping finishes, but in 1987 the Speedway took a different turn when it hosted the opening ceremonies for the Pan American Games, its first major non-racing event. Since that day, IMS has grown to host more and more events beyond racing, with yearly concerts, fundraisers, golf tournaments and more.
The Pan Am Games was the first of many non-racing events Penske Entertainment Senior Vice President Allison Melangton helped host at the track. Now Melangton looks towards the future of IMS under the direction of Penske.
“We have on track activity 150 days a year. That’s a busy track season. And then on top of that we do tons of community events,” Melangton said. “We just kicked off recently with the Mini Marathon and Rev to get us going for the month of May. But then we also have things like the Corporate Challenge that the Indiana Sports Corporation hosts and the Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraiser.”
Music at the track has become synonymous with the 500 experience, with concerts on Carb day, Legend’s day (now hosted at TCU Amphitheater) and in the Snake Pit on race day. “We have great musical entertainment around our racing events right now. And I think we’re gonna stay with that formula, sort of the combined weekends of entertainment and sports” said Melangton.
Melangton dismissed any hopes of a standalone concert similar to the 2015 Rolling Stones show in the near future, but she was optimistic in an eventual return saying, “The Rolling Stones was hands down one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. It was an iconic event out here, so hopefully someday we’ll do something like that again.”
Another aspect at IMS is the Brickyard Crossing, an 18-hole golf course with four holes in the infield and 14 holes outside the track. Melangton said “Roger Penske has invested millions of dollars into the golf course the last couple of years. So if you haven’t played, you need to go play out there. It’s absolutely stunning as a course. And you know, we’re always in discussions with a variety of different rights holders wanting to host events, either at the track or at the golf course.”
The development of the surrounding city of Speedway is also in Penske Entertainment’s plans. Melangton emphasizes the importance of a healthy and vibrant downtown Speedway saying, “We have a great relationship with the town of Speedway, Doug Bowles, Mark Miles and I. We work with the town all the time. In the nine years that I’ve been out here. Main Street is a different place, the number of businesses, the number of shops, coffee shops, lunch places. So over time, it’s transformed a lot. And I continue to look down the road and see the development, adding and continuing to change there.”