Boston Marathon Bombings: Kansas Speedway Consulting With FBI On Security Measures
Kansas Speedway President Pat Warren yesterday said that track staff and local authorities "have spoken to officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to prepare" security measures for the NASCAR races there this weekend following the Boston Marathon bombings, according to Dave Skretta of the AP. Warren noted that the increased security will be "noticeable, and that fans attending the Truck Series race Saturday and the Sprint Cup race Sunday should plan to arrive early." Warren said that there are "no plans to alter the gate policies at Kansas Speedway, such as adding metal detectors." He added that fans still would be "allowed to bring in soft-sided coolers" (AP, 4/16). Warren: "We’re pretty buttoned up when it comes to security. We feel good about what we have in place. There will be things we do that we’re not going to talk about and people won’t see, but we feel we have in the past and will continue to operate a very safe environment for our fans" (K.C. STAR, 4/17). More Warren: "It's a good idea for people to plan on a little more time getting through the gates, having their backpacks checked, their coolers checked, those kind of things. ... Certainly we're paying attention to what happened at Boston and we're not ignoring that. The policies and procedures we have in place we feel are sufficient. Certainly people are going to be paying more attention" (ESPN.com, 4/16). Warren said, “We have an emergency action plan that we put in place before the facility ever opened, and the first time that it was really used in full force was actually the second race after 9/11, which was run here in 2001. When you think about airports and security screening changes and things like that, we've never really stepped back from that level of security. One nice thing is that if you don't step back from it, you don't have to step back up when something does happen" (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 4/16).
LONG BEACH FOLLOWING SUIT: Long Beach, Calif., Mayor Bob Foster and city Police Chief Jim McDonnell said that an "estimated 175,000 spectators are expected downtown" during the Izod IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend, and "security will be heightened." McDonnell said that the department would "use intelligence gathered in the days preceding the Grand Prix and throughout the Grand Prix to their advantage." Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President & CEO Jim Michaelian said that the bombings in Boston "haven't affected ticket sales, but it is still to be determined if the tragedy will affect attendance." He added that security procedures are "not finalized." Michaelian "urged race fans to allow for extra time getting into the event." The schedules for concerts, races and other events associated with the race have "not been changed" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 4/17). Meanwhile, in Detroit, Mike Brudenell notes organizers of the IndyCar Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit, which will be held May 31-June 2, likely will be "extra diligent and aggressive in their public safety approach this year." It is unknown whether "body and bag searches at entry points to the 2.3-mile raceway at Belle Isle course or on buses leaving downtown for the track will be conducted." Race GM Charles Burns said that between now and event on Belle Isle, he will "continue to be in contact with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and Detroit police and fire authorities on how best to serve the safety of race fans at and around the track" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/17). Burns: "We're going to have to look at all angles of the situation and the authorities will make an assessment, along with us, and then we'll go from there" (DETROIT NEWS, 4/17).
COTA CONFIDENT OF PLANS IN PLACE: In Austin, John Maher notes the Circuit of the Americas yesterday was "getting some fresh paint," and signs for title sponsor Red Bull were going up as the track is "gearing up for its first MotoGP race this weekend." With many of the racing teams planning to arrive today, there "remained plenty of details for circuit officials to attend to in the next few days," but after the attacks in Boston, security measures were "an increased concern." COTA Senior VP/Operations & GM Mel Harder said, "We feel like we have a solid plan, but we’re constantly in touch with city, state and federal officials to update our plans and get information. We do have a system in place and if we need to make adjustments, we are certainly prepared to do that." An Austin Police Department spokesperson said that the department was "on heightened alert and taking additional precautions for all events this weekend, including MotoGP." COTA VP/Public & Media Relations Julie Loignon said that fans "attending practice and qualifying, as well as Sunday’s race, would be required to pass through security checkpoints, just as they did for the circuit’s inaugural Formula One race in November." COTA officials "expect a three-day crowd of 100,000 fans for MotoGP" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 4/17).