Indianapolis Motor Speedway is asking fans to account for the likelihood of bad weather and lightning protocols when planning their arrival at the track for today’s 108th Indianapolis 500.

“We do think we’re going to get some some sort of weather at some point in time today,” IMS President Doug Boles said on Sunday morning. “Our biggest concern in that weather is not the rain as much as it is the lightning. And our biggest concern overall is making sure that our customers here at the Speedway are safe. So we will continue to monitor that.”

The Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series, broadcaster NBC and other stakeholders have been discussing weather contingencies over the past several days. At one point there was the possibility that the race would be moved half an hour forward for a 12:15pm green flag, however that was based on predictions that the storm would hit mid-afternoon. Updated modeling suggesting that the rain is now likely to arrive closer to noon means that an early start has been ruled out.

According to Boles though, the main issue is not the rain, but the lightning that will come with it, and the associated difficulty of protecting vast numbers of spectators in an area as large and exposed as IMS.

“We will want to make sure that we are informing our customers, letting them know where we are so that they have time to decide what they want to do,” he said. “Whether they want to hang here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or whether they want to stay in their cars, or frankly, whether they want to wait until they see how this weather comes together.

“I really think over the next couple of hours we’ll have a pretty good definition of what that’s going to look like and then we will just continue staying in contact with IndyCar, and figure out what we want to do as we go forward.

“This a challenging moment for all of us, but again, the most important thing for us is we want to keep our customers safe, and we will continue to watch the weather with lightning.

“This is not a ‘look for a strike eight miles out’ kind of thing. So as we start seeing the storm develop more, we will actually start thinking about asking folks to leave the grandstands much, much earlier than an eight mile out radius to make sure that they have time to implement their safety plan – whether that means they want stay here, they go back to their cars, or they don’t come in at all.

“The good news with this weather is, it looks like if it does come, we will hopefully have something on the back end of that so we can continue to get racing in today.”

IMS will issue additional updates throughout the morning via communications to the media as well as on the screens and PA for those already at the track, and also through its social media channels.