The 2020 Indianapolis 500 Just Announced a Huge Change
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is being forced to break many fans’ hearts. The Speedway was already forced to delay the race from its traditional Memorial Day weekend date. Now, it is announcing that all activities will take place without any fans at the historic race track. This is especially disappointing because, this is the first year that the track is owned by the Penske Corporation and the new owners have promised significant upgrades at the speedway.
The statement reads in part, “It is with great regret that we announce the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Aug. 23 without fans. This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership.”
Plans for Next Year’s Indy 500
Individuals who still have tickets to this year’s Indy 500 will be credited for the 2021 Indianapolis 500 and will retain their seniority and their originally assigned seats. The 2021 Indy 500 is scheduled for May 30th.
The speedway said in June that it would run this year’s race with only 25 percent of the fans at the track. The COVID-19 situation in Indiana is now forcing the track to eliminate all in person attendance. All on-track activity during the month of August, including practice and qualifications, will be closed to the general public.
“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.”
Keeping the Iconic Track’s Legacy Intact
The Indianapolis 500 is the largest single day sporting event in the world. It draws hundreds of thousands of fans over the 10 days of practices and racing. The track is 110 years old. Roger Penske is the fourth owner of the speedway. Just 25 percent of capacity would still have allowed 80,000 fans to attend the race on Aug. 23rd, 2020.
As a team owner, Roger Penske has won the Indianapolis 500 more than anyone else. Penske has logged an amazing 18 victories. When the man affectionately known as “The Captain” bought the track last November, it stunned the racing world. Penske bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and IMS Productions. No one suspected that the Hulman family was interested in selling the famous track. A purchase price has never been disclosed.
Penske’s Strong Racing Commitment
Roger Penske says he is still committed to improving the facility and keeping the race a world-class event.
“We encourage Hoosiers to continue making smart decisions and following the advice of our public health officials so we can help get Indiana back on track. “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. “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.”
The first Indy 500 practice will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 12. The 104th Running of the Indy 500 will take place Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. Next year’s Indy 500 is scheduled to return to its Memorial Day roots.
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