Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that the crowd for the 104th running of the Indy 500 will be limited to 50% of the track’s capacity.
The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 was scheduled to have taken place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway back on Sunday, May 24 in its traditional Memorial Day Sunday slot.
However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, IndyCar was forced to postpone the race to Sunday, August 23. This announcement came three months ago today on Thursday, March 26.
The “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” hadn’t not been held in May since it wasn’t held at all for the fourth consecutive year in 1945 due to World War II, and it has never been run outside of May.
The track has now released an attendance plan for Sunday, August 23, indicating that the plan is still to run the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) oval in Speedway, Indiana in just under two months.
This plan, although specific details of how it will be executed have not yet been revealed, involves limiting attendance to roughly 50% of capacity. While the track regularly welcomes over 300,000 fans for this event, the track officially has 230,000 seats. However, this 50% capacity limit is slated to include grandstands, infield and suites, according to NBC Sports, meaning that the grandstands could end up being more than 50% full on race day. Over 175,000 tickets have already been sold.
“We’re committed to running the Indy 500 on Sunday, Aug. 23 and will welcome fans to the world’s greatest racing venue,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said in a release. “We will be limiting attendance to approximately 50 percent 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.”
This announcement comes a few weeks after IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske stated that there will either be an Indy 500 with fans in attendance, or there will be no Indy 500 at all in 2020.
The backup plan for the race appears to be Sunday, October, 4, given the fact that IndyCar scheduled a trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 3 for a second race at the track’s road course, the first being the upcoming race there on Saturday, July 4 when fans won’t be allowed to attend.
NBC is set to broadcast the 104th running of the Indy 500 live from Indianapolis Motor Speedway beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, August 23.