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First Responders Enjoy Salute from Fans, IMS on Special Day at Speedway

For the third year in a row, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway saluted the vital work of emergency services personnel during First Responders Day on Wednesday, May 16.

Police, fire and emergency medical services (EMS) workers received free admission to the second day of practice for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil as thanks for their crucial role during events at IMS and every day throughout Central Indiana.

Father-and-son EMS workers Doug and Noah Stevens, from Grant County, also got a close-up look from the pits at Verizon IndyCar Series cars speeding past during practice, their heads turning in synchronized awe as cars screamed down the front straightaway of the 2.5-mile oval.

“We think it’s awesome, not a lot of places do stuff to recognize first responders,” Noah Stevens said. “The Speedway is special for doing this.”

The Speedway Police Department has played a vital role in helping to ensure the safety of the hundreds of thousands of fans that visit IMS every May and throughout the year at major events.

“We appreciate that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has incorporated a day on your schedule to recognize all of our local, state and federal partners,” said Captain Jason Dierdorff of the Speedway Police Department Criminal Investigations Division. “Thank you for recognizing those individuals that help enhance safety and security by giving them a day to experience the activities leading up to ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’”

First Responders Day also gave fans at IMS a chance to thank these very important people for their essential work, and the praise was greatly appreciated.

“For people to walk up and thank us, it’s very important,” said Jeff Black, a 20-year veteran of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. “It means everything. We’re human. We’ve got everything, all the same problems and struggles, that you’ve got going on, so it means a lot to be recognized.”

Said Douglas Randell, the division chief of EMS for the Fire Territory of Plainfield, “It’s humbling for us to be recognized just for doing the job we love.”

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