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Final touches being applied to reconfigured road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Apr 27, 2014, 11:54 PM EDT

Ryan Briscoe AP

The first test of the reconfigured road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is just two days away – and the track is still being tweaked for completion and to be ready as scheduled on Wednesday, according to a report in Sunday’s Indianapolis Star by writer Curt Cavin.

The inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis takes place May 10, two weeks prior to the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25.

As many as 75 workers toiled throughout the weekend, tweaking things such as sod installation, line striping and even final erection of additional grandstand seating, Cavin reported.

“Really, most of it is cosmetic,” track President Doug Boles told Cavin.

One thing that will not be finished by Wednesday, and it’s understandable given how much would likely be rubbed off by cars taking practice laps, is painting of curbs around the race course.

The reconfigured track layout has five modified turns and a fresh coat of asphalt on the infield.

“It’s a new racetrack, it’s a proper racetrack and the best part about it is it’s inside the world’s greatest racetrack,” Ryan Hunter-Reay told Cavin. “(They’re) letting a bunch of IndyCar drivers go at it, and that’s awesome.

“I feel like a kid. I can’t wait to try it out.”

But Sebastien Bourdais, who won the first Brickyard Grand Prix, has his reservations.

“I didn’t see anything wrong with the old track,” he said. “Obviously the IMS guys thought different, so we’ll just have to give it a fair shot and see how it shakes out.

“But they sure spent a lot of money for that, so it better be good.”

Wednesday’s two practice sessions, a two-hour stint in the morning and a three-hour segment in the afternoon, will be preceded a day earlier when 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve and NASCAR star Kurt Busch will spend much of the day practicing on the fabled 2.5-mile oval at IMS.

Both Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s sessions will be open to the public, Cavin noted.

It will be Villeneuve’s first return to Indy since his win there 19 years ago, and Busch will be competing in his first-ever 500, attempting to do the so-called “double” of racing in the 500 in the early afternoon and then heading to Charlotte for that evening’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup event.

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  1. Jeff - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:28 AM

    I’m looking forward to the inaugural Indy Grand Prix.

  2. testover6370 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    I can understand why Bourdais liked the old track since he won on it in Grand Am, but it really wasn’t an interesting course. I don’t see how the changes will make it much better since it is still a flat roval, but we’ll see. Indycars can make even the most boring track interesting.

  3. crunge4461 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    Even though the IMS road course itself is not that interesting, roval, the race I think will be pretty fantastic. The reason I think the race will be good is because the DW12 is a car that really facilitates passing…put it on a wide, smooth course that has 2 or 3 strong passing zones and it should be a pretty good race. Even though i have never been a great fan of the circuit (went to the U.S. Gp in 2007) I think this is a cool way to spice up the Month of May. The lead up to the Indy 500 is constant racing action for 3 weeks! We will get lots of practice, qualification, a road race, and carb day. Though, I wish NBCSN would broadcast Fast Friday too.

    • indycarseries500 - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      The circuit isn’t the greatest but even some the Formula 1 races there were some of the best of that era, especially 2001 and 2003.

  4. Jeff - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    I wouldn’t call it a roval. There are no oval turns that will be used in the Indy GP.

    • crunge4461 - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      Really? They are not using Indy Turn 1? Isn’t Indy turn 1 the last turn on the circuit and then down the front stretch?

      • Jeff - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:09 PM

        No. The road-course Turn 11 is close to the oval Turn 2, but still an oval turn will not be part of the road course.

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