The Red Bull Air Race returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend for what IMS President Doug Boles says continues to be a "brand new experience" for the venue and racing fans. This year’s race is the final event of the season and will culminate in the crowning of a new world champion. Last year’s race drew tens of thousands of fans, and Boles says the Speedway is putting a focus on "continuing to introduce people to this really exciting type of flying."
Qualifying is set for Saturday, with the race following on Sunday.
Boles says, while he believes this year’s crowd to be slightly smaller than the inaugural event last year, he’s expecting a strong turnout, especially among families. He says children 15 and under can get in for free with a paid adult ticketholder.
As part of the preps for the race, IMS crews removed the pedestrian bridge that runs over Hulman Boulevard on the track’s infield to create Hulman Runway, which the competing planes will use. The Speedway becomes an FAA-controlled airport for the event, and operates under the same rules implemented at any other airport.
Boles says, while the Speedway is known for auto racing, "planes have been in our DNA from almost the very beginning." IMS hosted an aviation meet in 1910, before the first Indianapolis 500. Ray Harroun, who won the first Indy 500, built two airplanes in his life and was one type expected to teach flying at Culver Military School.