The Indianapolis 500 is set to be the largest sporting event in the world since the start of the pandemic with 135,000 spectators permitted to attend “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” next month.
The postponed 2020 Indy 500 was held without fans on Aug. 23
Indianapolis Motor Speedway said Wednesday it worked with the Marion County Public Health Department to determine that 40% of venue capacity can attend the May 30 race on Memorial Day weekend. The speedway is the largest sporting facility in the world with more than 250,000 grandstand seats and the ability to host close to 400,000 on race day throughout the entire property.
The attendance figure was determined after Indianapolis hosted the NCAA men’s basketball tournament through March and into April with limited attendance. The NCAA allowed 8,000 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium for the April 5 men’s championship game.
The Alabama spring football game last weekend hosted 47,218 fans, nearly 10,000 more than a recent Texas Rangers baseball game; an Australian Rules cricket match in Melbourne drew 51,723 in March.
Roger Penske, in his second year as owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, had hoped for full attendance, but indycar” target=”_blank”>IndyCar<
The infield’s raucous “Snake Pit” will be closed and all the traditional concerts will not be held, including on Carb Day and Legends Day. There will be suite seating and the Pagoda will be open to those with tickets, but the midway will be closed.
Grandstand seating will be socially distanced; fans will have an option to return their tickets for an account credit.
Face coverings will be required on track property and temperature checks will be given at the entrances. IMS will also extend its vaccination clinics through the end of May with the ability for spectators to receive a vaccination on speedway grounds throughout the month
Miles anticipated about 60% of those in attendance will have been vaccinated. IMS has vaccinated approximately 100,000 people since it began operating as a site.
“Roger Penske and everyone associated with Penske Entertainment and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been incredible partners with us throughout the pandemic,” said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. “It is high time for fans to return to the greatest motor speedway in the world with this safety plan in place.”
Miles said 90% of the IndyCar paddock had been vaccinated by last Sunday’s season opener and there are two more opportunities for competitors to get shots before racing begins at the speedway. Those who choose not to be vaccinated before the track opens May 18 for Indy 500 preparations will be required to undergo daily COVID-19 testing.