This is an interesting development for fans. Access to the athletes is what separates motor sports from all other major sports.
Here is the press release sent out by IndyCar:
Fans as young at 9 years old will be able to get behind the scenes at IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights events beginning in 2011.
INDYCAR is working with each of its racetrack partners to allow minors to hold garage passes during event weekends for the opportunity to see the stars and preparation of cars up close.
Venues will set their individual policy based on insurance and state-specific regulations.
For the first time in its 102-year history, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will allow the purchase of garage passes for children 9 or older, or fourth grade and higher. Previously, minors were only allowed in the garage area on Community Day, a non-competition day.
"Our current fan base became fans of our sport by attending races with their parents, and we want to keep that tradition alive with the next generation," said Randy Bernard, CEO, INDYCAR. "One of the greatest assets we have in enhancing the fan experience at the racetrack is access to our garage. We want our fans to get close to the action and excitement that defines the IZOD IndyCar Series. We are trying to make our events more family-friendly and allowing minor access to the garage is a great way to accomplish this. We thank the tracks for working with us to make this happen, and we look forward to creating unique programming in the garage that will further enhance the experience at each event."