- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - An anticipated record-breaking crowd at this year’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 has officials cautioning attendees to be ready for heightened security.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials are encouraging attendees to arrive at least two hours earlier than they usually would due to the expected huge crowd of about 350,000 fans, as well as new security features.

“It is going to be a little bit more challenging to get to the world’s largest single-day sporting event,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles said. “So that means you are going to have to be early.”

Mike Bates, the speedway’s senior director of safety and security, said every person and vehicle entering the venue on Sunday should expect to be stopped and checked by security. All bags and coolers will be checked upon entry, vehicles will be randomly searched and license plates will be scanned.

Bates said the number of public safety representatives, including officers from more than 50 law enforcement agencies, medics and firefighters, will increase by 20 percent.

For the third year, the Indianapolis 500 has earned a special rating from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which allows the event to receive federal help to support security efforts. The federal agencies will provide staffing, K-9 officers, cameras, communication assets, helicopters and more.

Officials also are encouraging attendees to be patient when they’re leaving the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“With a crowd this size, it’s just going to take a while to get home and to get here,” Bates said. “If you’re here when the race ends, take your time. Just keep enjoying yourself and whatever you’re doing for an hour or so. It’ll make your drive home much, much less stressful.”

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