Indy500 to run without fans

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Despite the Roger Penske-led IndyCar series’ plans, the legendary Indy500 race will be staged without race fans due to the worsening situation regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak.

America’s premier open-wheel racing series IndyCar planned to run its crown jewel with 25 percent attendance as the big facility would have allowed the necessary social distancing. However, the series has now announced that its most important race will be held as a ’ghost’ event.

„This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership,” read a statement from IMS.

“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.

The statement also stressed that the series was keen to show the fans the investments made to the Indianapolis track, but the increased number of coronavirus cases meant that it would not be possible this year.

„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.”

Originally scheduled for May 24, the 104th running of the Indy 500 was moved to August 23 as a nationwide shutdown was implemented to stem the spread of COVID-19.