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Indianapolis Motor Speedway reverses course and announces no fans at Indy 500

Nick Bromberg

There will officially be no fans at the 2020 Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway said Tuesday that the Aug. 23 race would be held without any fans allowed in the grandstands because of the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement comes after the track said in June that capacity would be capped at 25 percent. Previously, Indianapolis had said that it would let the stands be half-full for the race.

“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,” the track said in a statement. “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.”

The Indy 500 is the next event on the IndyCar Series schedule because a scheduled doubleheader at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday and Sunday was suddenly postponed over the weekend because of the pandemic. IndyCar has said that it would like to make up the races at Mid-Ohio in the fall.

IndyCar ran on the Indianapolis road course on July 4 without fans in attendance as part of a doubleheader feature with NASCAR.

The postponed 500 will be the first with Roger Penske as the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Penske bought the track and the IndyCar Series late in 2019 and finalized the purchase early in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic spread across the country.

“Penske Corporation made a long-term investment to be the steward of this legendary facility,” the track said. “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.”

There will be empty grandstands for the Indy 500. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
There will be empty grandstands for the Indy 500. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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