Indy­Car set to open sea­son next month

Orlando Sentinel - - Sports Friday -

Indy­Car has got­ten the green flag to fi­nally start its sea­son, which it will do in Texas with a night­time race June 6 with­out spec­ta­tors.

The race at Texas Mo­tor Speed­way was the next one on the sched­ule that hadn’t been post­poned or can­celed be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic. Indy­Car and track of­fi­cials an­nounced the de­tails Thurs­day, heavy with safety pre­cau­tions along with fi­nan­cial con­ces­sions from both sides to make it hap­pen.

There will be a con­densed sched­ule, with practice, qual­i­fy­ing and the race tak­ing place on the same day. There will be strict ac­cess guide­lines lim­it­ing the num­ber of per­son­nel on site, with health screen­ing sys­tem ad­min­is­tered to all par­tic­i­pants and per­sonal pro­tec­tion equip­ment pro­vided to ev­ery­one en­ter­ing the fa­cil­ity.

TMS pres­i­dent Ed­die Gos­sage had pre­vi­ously in­di­cated he didn’t want to run an Indy­Car race with­out fans, given that tracks don’t get a cut of the TV rev­enue for those races like they do for NASCAR events.

“For a race track with the Indy­Car race, the gate is your sin­gle largest rev­enue source. So that’s a big deal to do it with­out fans in the stands, and I didn’t want to do that,” Gos­sage said. “But at the end of the day, we worked some­thing out. We’re pay­ing Indy­Car, we’re just not pay­ing as much. So both of us com­pro­mised, and both of us are los­ing money.”

While Gos­sage wouldn’t re­veal any fig­ures, he said it was good to get things go­ing in the sport again. He joked that one con­ces­sion he got from Roger Penske was 10 min­utes in the mo­tor­coach of the se­ries’ new owner to “search be­tween the cush­ions to kind of help bridge the gap on our fi­nan­cial is­sues.”

Texas has held Indy­Car races since the 11⁄2-mile track opened in 1997, longer than any fa­cil­ity in the se­ries other than In­di­anapo­lis Mo­tor Speed­way. TMS hosted two races a year from 1998-2004.

RANDY HOLT/AP

Keep­ing an eye on the world of sports dur­ing the coro­n­avirus cri­sis:

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