Indy debuts solar farm, readies new scoring pylon
July 01, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will feature a number of significant changes when NASCAR racing returns later this month. One is the replacement of an iconic fixture; the other is the debut of a sustainable energy source that will provide power at the historic track for years to come.
The latter, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Solar Farm, officially opened Tuesday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The facility, billed as the largest solar power farm at any sporting venue in the world, is built on 68 acres near the 2.5-mile speedway's backstretch and features 39,314 solar panels that can power the equivalent of 2,700 homes.
The development dovetails with the NASCAR Green initiative for reducing the sport's environmental footprint, offsetting 10,288 tons of carbon annually. With Tuesday's debut, the Indy facility joins similar solar farms at Pocono Raceway and Sonoma Raceway, which also host the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
The other enhancement scheduled to be in place for the 21st annual Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard is the addition of a new scoring pylon on the frontstretch. The iconic, 97-foot-tall tower -- which had stood since 1994 -- was removed Monday, leaving a concrete stump where the speedway's historic marker is located.
The new scoring pylon will feature an LED display on all four sides. Track president J. Douglas Boles said that the new tower will be "just a tick taller" and will improve the visibility of caution lights for drivers.