Huge turnout expected at Indy 500 in August



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Indy 500 2020 Image: wheels.ca

This year’s Indianapolis 500 race on August 23 is expected to attract more than 100,000 spectators after officials confirmed details of the rescheduled iconic US motorsport event. It will be the 104th edition of the motorsport spectacle.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an automobile racing circuit located in Speedway, Indiana, in the United States. It is the home of the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400, and formerly the home of the United States Grand Prix.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) said the venue would be limited to 50 per cent capacity for this year’s Indy 500, which was originally due to be held in May but was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak which has put the whole world at peril.

In previous years, the mammoth venue has attracted attendances of more than 250,000, which means a humongous crowd could turn up on August 23 even with the restrictions on capacity.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway team has informed that it is working with public health officials to complete a comprehensive plan of health measures.

“We’re committed to running the Indy 500 on Sunday, August 23 and will welcome fans to the world’s greatest racing venue,” affirmed Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles.

“We will be limiting attendance to approximately 50 per cent of venue capacity, and we are also finalizing a number of additional carefully considered health and safety measures. We’ll unveil the specific details of our comprehensive plan in the coming weeks.”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway also informed that it is communicating with existing ticketholders to learn of their intent to use their race tickets. Credits will be available for ticketholders who choose to adjust their order.

In a letter to season ticket holders, the track said it expects to accommodate “at least 50 percent of original ticket quantities.” The track will take requests for more than 50 percent but might move fans to another location because of social distancing requirements.

A statement released by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway read, “Individuals in high-risk groups are encouraged to consider staying home and returning in 2021. In close consultation with public health officials, the IMS team is also working diligently to finalize a comprehensive plan of health measures that will be unveiled for spectators in the near future.”

Though the statement released by the track said attendance will be limited to 50 percent, track officials clarified to mediapersons that “attendance” will include the grandstands, infield and suites.

The track previously has estimated having a total capacity of roughly 300,000 including the grandstands, infield and suites — meaning it’s possible the grandstands still could be more than 50 percent occupied on August 23.

The track is still working on how the infield and suites will be configured, but both are expected to have fans on August 23.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske had earlier said that he wanted to have a “full crowd” for the sporting showpiece.

However, the IndyCar and NASCAR event on July 4-5 will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with no fans in attendance.

A press release sent out by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway read, “Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials confirmed on June 26 their commitment to welcoming spectators to the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on August 23, with the venue capacity limited to 50 percent attendance.

The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ was postponed from its original date of May 24 due to the COVID-19 health crisis.”

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