The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has always been on the cutting edge of technology. Founded by Indianapolis businessman Carl Fisher in the early 1900’s, IMS was developed as a proving ground for new technology – the automobile.
Fast forward to Tuesday, July 1, 2014. IMS President J. Douglas Boles cuts the ribbon on the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway Solar Farm, located on 68 acres adjacent to the back stretch of the 2.5-mile oval track.
Almost 40,000 solar panels occupy the property, making it the largest solar farm on any sporting property in the world. The panels will generate 9.0 megawatts of power for Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL), offsetting 10,288 tons of carbon annually. And taking property that was once used as storage and turning it into stored energy for a neighborhood and a community.
Boles gave me an interesting history lesson on Tuesday. As he tells it, one of his predecessors, Wilbur Shaw (hired as IMS president shortly after Tony Hulman first purchased the speedway following World War II), spent the first part of his professional career as a battery salesman pushing battery-powered automobiles in the 1910’s and early 20’s.
“So, it’s something that has sort of been in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s DNA, dating all the way back to the beginning, but this is a really nice way for us to talk about it.” -Doug Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president
From testing ground to sacred ground. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is still evolving from Carl Fisher’s vision.
“For us to take, 105 years later, his dream and change it a little bit, but still be on the front end of technology, especially energy technology, which does have a direct connection to what we do on the racetrack every day…it is nice for us to be able to be on the front end of this. And it’s something that I think our founders would be proud of.” -Doug Boles
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Leading the way into the next century.
On the track. And off.