Photo: Walter G. Arce, Sr./ASP, Inc.

104th Indianapolis 500 Will Go On Without Fans

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

For the first time in the history of the Indianapolis 500, there won’t be fans surrounding the 2.5-mile circuit as the extremely unpopular yet difficult decision was confirmed Tuesday morning.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway issued the following statement regarding this month’s race:

“It is with great regret that we announce the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Aug. 23 without fans. This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership.

“As dedicated as we were to running the race this year with 25 percent 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. Since our June 26 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.”

Since the postponement of the 500-mile race back in March, IMS have tried effortlessly to bring crowds for its biggest event as it had planned of having 50% capacity before announcing last month the reduction to 25%. Even going out of their way of introducing a carefully crafted 86-page health protocol format.

Despite everything, it wasn’t meant to be and the next NTT IndyCar Series race that’ll go on with fans allowed for the time being is the Gateway doubleheader on August 29-30, a week after the Indy 500.

The 104th Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge will commence Sunday, August 23 (1 p.m. EST on NBC) as the now eighth round of the 2020 INDYCAR championship trail, due to last Saturday’s announcement of postponing the Mid-Ohio doubleheader, will certainly become must-see TV on what’s been a real hard year for all parties involved due to the pandemic.

Tags : , , , , , , , ,

From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography ranging from Idaho athletics to auto racing with ambitions of having his work recognized.