IMS Puts The Mettle To The Pedal

Concept drawing of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pedal Car Racetrack Experience

Concept drawing of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pedal Car Racetrack Experience

by Allan Brewer

Imagine you are on an oval super-speedway. Imagine it is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You look to your right and it’s your son in the car next to you. You look to your left and it’s your daughter ready to go. The green flag drops! And away you go!

Seems like a dream, but it’s more like a dream come true at the IMS Pedal Car racetrack located inside the north parking lot at nearby Children’s Museum of Hospital.

Adults and children alike can pedal their way around a make-shift oval track, or if they prefer, there’s a drag-strip adjacent to the main track. Pick your genre: IndyCar, stock car, funny car . . . there’s one of each of them waiting for a winning driver. It’s not a Mickey Mouse operation, either: drivers can line up four abreast on either configuration and there is a timer to mark their progress down the track on the first pass or the twenty-first.

The oval track measures nearly a football-field long and is specially constructed to insure each car stays in its own lane. The drag strip truly is more of a sprint at 22 yards long with four divided lanes. Either is a workout, designed to put leg muscles to the test.

The cars are adorned with sponsor’s decals, as it turns out real sponsors who have made the project possible. Among them is The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis which is fostering a participatory approach to its newest activities.

“This will create a totally immersive environment,” said Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and chief executive of the museum. “It’s intended to get parents and children, even grandparents and children, involved in fun, creative physical activity.”

Another sponsor is Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. “Collaborating on this project made perfect sense,” said chief medical officer Dr. Paul Haut. “This exhibit will help introduce visitors to the joy of physical activity and encourage them to be active long after they leave,” he said.

Other partners include the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Museum staff estimate the IMS pedal car experience and other “get involved” exhibits will add an additional 275,000 to 500,000 visitors a year to the facility, to boost annual visits to 1.5 million to 1.7 million a year.

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