Indianapolis 500 to be Ran Without Fans
After months of speculation and several different announcements, it has been decided that the Indianapolis 500 will be run without fans for the first time ever.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway made the official announcement on Tuesday.
Roger Penske has been hoping that a limited number of fans would be in attendance at the event in 2020, but ultimately it was decided that it would not be safe. This is the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, and fans have always been in attendance, until this year.
Roger Penske purchased the speedway in January, and he has made a number of upgrades to the iconic race track since that time. The Indianapolis 500 is known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” but it will have to be viewed through television sets this year.
The Indianapolis 500 is traditionally run on Memorial Day weekend, but the pandemic forced the event to be postponed until August 23. The race was initially moved to give fans a chance to attend the event, but that is no longer the case.
Penske has been extremely vocal in the last few months about the possibility of no fans being in attendance, and he has stated several times that the race would not be run without fans. COVID-19 cases in the state of Indiana have continued to rise, and it forced Penske and the speedway to back off from their stance.
IU Health, the largest health care system in the state, announced last week that they oppose fans attending the big race. Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials were blindsided by that announcement as they had been working with the health care system for months.
The first day of practice will now be held on August 12, after the original August 11 date was canceled. The traditional Pit Crew Competition has also been canceled, marking the only other change in the weekly schedule.
Third and Final Announcement
This is the third time that Penske at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has made an announcement regarding the 2020 Indy 500. Initially, Penske announced that capacity would be limited to 50 percent on the August 23 date, but that announcement didn’t last long.
Last month, Penske announced that the race would be run in front of just 25 percent capacity and that the race track was working with ticket holders about a refund policy. Even at 25 percent, the race track was hoping that more than 80,000 fans could be in attendance.
Penske and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are now facing huge financial ramifications of not allowing spectators at the race, but they decided that health and safety were more important. Penske and other Indianapolis Motor Speedway recently released an 88-page document that outlined a number of new health and safety protocols, but now that document is no longer valid.
The race track can hold more than 350,000 spectators, and the race track is routinely filled to capacity. IU Health appreciated the 88-page document from the race track, but they eventually ruled that it was safer to keep fans from attending.
Motor racing is not the only sport that has had an impact, the wave of effects can be felt across all sports.
For more sports news and legal sports betting in Indiana, check out more stories on our blog.
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