KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Kansas Speedway officials said on Friday they have a security plan in place to keep all of the expected 90,000 or more spectators safe and secure this weekend.
The massive racing complex will host one of the largest gatherings of people in the country this weekend, with huge crowds expected to pack the grandstands, infield and parking lots for the STP 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Race.
Speedway staff said they'll search every bag, and will have bomb-sniffing dogs and other explosive ordinance disposal equipment on hand. All other details of the security plan are being kept confidential.
"It's not a decision. It's a policy we've had in place for a long time," said Pat Warren, Kansas Speedway president, when asked about the secrecy surrounding the security plan here. "When you talk about specific security procedures, you tell people who want to do bad things how to get around them."
Warren said his team developed their security plan after Sept. 11, 2011 and have changed it little since then, but did review it after a planning meeting on Monday when KCKPD was interrupted by the breaking news of the Boston marathon attacks.
"We immediately started looking at everything we did to make sure we hadn't missed anything. Sort of a dotting I and crossing T exercise. And the good thing is, we didn't find anything that we missed," Warren said. "And that's the result of years of planning and going through this before and after every race"
NASCAR, Warren said, is an inherently dangerous sport for fans and drivers alike, and has a larger geographical footprint than other sports that must be secured, meaning that robust security measures are often already in place at racing complexes around the country.
Race fans on hand today told 41 Action News they barely noticed any increase in security this year, if there was one at all.
Some said the largest change in the atmosphere here came from fans themselves; more cautious and alert than in calmer times.
"You can look around. People are keeping their kids closer. They're just ... more alert to things around you," said Ron Claycomb of Ridgeway, Mo. "People are paying more attention."
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