No fans at Indy 500 due to virus

Cases surge in In­di­ana, scut­tling plans to hold race be­fore par­tial crowd

Windsor Star - - SPORTS -

The In­di­anapo­lis 500 will not have any spec­ta­tors in at­ten­dance af­ter the In­di­anapo­lis Mo­tor Speedway (IMS) re­versed di­rec­tion on Tues­day, hav­ing orig­i­nally planned for close to 100,000 fans at the race which has been resched­uled for later this month.

With COVID-19 rag­ing in sev­eral re­gions of the United States and hav­ing al­ready claimed over 150,000 lives, IMS said it was an abun­dance of cau­tion that prompted them to aban­don ef­forts to have fans at the Aug. 23 event.

In­di­ana is one of the re­gions see­ing a rise in COVID-19 cases, with IMS not­ing in a state­ment that in Mar­ion County, where the or­ga­ni­za­tion is lo­cated, the num­ber of cases has tripled and the pos­i­tiv­ity rate has dou­bled.

“As ded­i­cated as we were to run­ning the race this year with 25 per cent 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,” IMS noted.

“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.”

Like many sports, Indycar was forced to shut down in mid-march due to the pan­demic and resched­ule races, mov­ing the show­case Indy 500 from its tra­di­tional May 24 date to Aug. 23.

Widely rec­og­nized as the world’s big­gest sin­gle day sport­ing event, IMS has per­ma­nent seat­ing for more than 250,000 with room for tens of thou­sands more spec­ta­tors in the in­field of the sprawl­ing 2.5 mile oval.

IMS had orig­i­nally planned for a 50 per cent ca­pac­ity of 125,000 for the resched­uled race but last month trimmed that to 25.

In­di­ana gov­er­nor Eric Hol­comb said in a state­ment that the IMS de­ci­sion to ban spec­ta­tors from the 104th In­di­anapo­lis 500 was the right call, putting fan safety first.

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