Simon Pagenaud, IndyCar, Indianapolis 500, 2019

IndyCar abandons efforts to allow fans in to Indianapolis 500


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The 2020 Indianapolis 500 will go ahead on its rescheduled August date, but IndyCar has abandoned efforts to allow fans into the race.

The organisers of the race previously said they would limit ticket sales to just 25% capacity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That would have reduced attendance from a maximum of 350,000 to around 87,500.

However as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise in the United States of America, the decision has been taken to hold the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, and all associated practice and qualifying sessions, behind closed doors.

“It is with great regret that we announce the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on August 23rd without fans,” said the speedway in a statement. “This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership.”

Cases of Covid-19 began to fall in America at the end of April. However cases started to rise again at the beginning of June, to a much higher level than before. While they have begun to show signs of falling again, the death rate from the virus rose throughout July.

“As dedicated as we were to running the race this year with 25% attendance at our large outdoor facility, even with meaningful and careful precautions implemented by the city and state, the Covid-19 trends in Marion County and Indiana have worsened,” the statement continued.

“Since our June 26th announcement, the number of cases in Marion County has tripled while the positivity rate has doubled. We said from the beginning of the pandemic we would put the health and safety of our community first, and while hosting spectators at a limited capacity with our robust plan in place was appropriate in late June, it is not the right path forward based on the current environment.

“We encourage Hoosiers to continue making smart decisions and following the advice of our public health officials so we can help get Indiana back on track.

“Penske Corporation made a long-term investment to be the steward of this legendary facility. While we were very excited to showcase the investments and enhancements we have made in the guest experience, we know we have reached the right decision. As much as Roger Penske and everyone associated with the ‘500’ wanted to race with fans this year, we ultimately reached this conclusion in partnership with the state of Indiana and city of Indianapolis.

“Our commitment to the speedway is unwavering, and we will continue to invest in the racing capital of the world. We encourage everyone to watch this year’s race on NBC, and we look forward to welcoming our loyal fans back to ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ on May 30th of 2021.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “IndyCar abandons efforts to allow fans in to Indianapolis 500”

  1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    4th August 2020, 18:15

    Man this is extremely sad but such a good choice at the same time. The US is still spreading like wildfire and literally putting peoples lives at risk for a 4 hour sporting event isn’t worth it unfortunately. Won’t be the same.

  2. And the world goes, well duh.

    While Silverstone looked so bare (I thought previous GP’s looked less awful), IndyCar thanks to it’s oval designs looked truly ghost like.

    It’s shame, but really the ONLY choice.

  3. This really is sad but not surprising. It’s good we have Roger running the show with his deep pockets. I hope next year all us fans can show our support by a massive turn out to help them recover some of the lost money this year.

  4. A HUGE bummer, but the smart way to go considering our current plight.

  5. As sad to hear this is for fans, but I am 100% with this decision. This virus is out of controll. Even if it might look not as bad in some states, It doesn’t take much to escalate it more.
    Especially with fans coming from all over the US to this race. I know several people that have and had this virus. With different outcomes and severity of symptoms.
    Some had no symptoms and spread it to their family. Some recoverd 100%, others have still lingering issues months after and sadly saw a few succumb to this virus without having any previous health issues.
    The US is not ready for fans. Should not be ready for fans for a long time. F1, Nascar, Football, Baseball, Soccer,…. anything should be off limits anywhere on this planet for fans until we can protect everyone from unnecessarily becoming ill and possibly die.

  6. What isn’t mentioned here is that delaying to October was an option for the track & Indycar, but not for NBC & the TV coverage needs a 5 hour block which apparently NBC don’t have. I guess they think that in the event of a rain delay it might run into Sunday night NFL coverage which usually starts around 6-7pm eastern time even though the odds of that are pretty unlikely (post race usually ends around 5pm).

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