The Indianapolis 500 announced Tuesday that it would not be able to have fans in attendance, taking place on August 23 with just television cameras and race officials at the speedway. Organizers held out for fans as long as they could – going to 50 percent capacity in late June and down to 25 percent a week ago before making the final decision to go with no attendance at all.
“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,” race organizers said in a statement announcing the change.
“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.”
Those holding tickets for 2020 will be able to have them credited forward for the 2021 race in the same location. Coverage of the race and practice sessions prior to the August 23 104th running of the Indy 500 will be available via NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN or NBC. IMS.com and INDYCAR.com have the full streaming and broadcast schedule.
The full release announcing the Indy 500 change is available below:
UPDATE FROM THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
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.
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.
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.
Further Information from IMS
- All on-track activity during the month of August, including practice and qualifications, will be closed to the general public.
- 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 first Indy 500 practice will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 12, with a full schedule available on IMS.com.
- All of the action from IMS can be viewed via NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN or NBC. Visit IMS.com or INDYCAR.com for a comprehensive streaming and broadcast schedule.
- The 104th Running of the Indy 500 will take place Sunday, Aug. 23, with national coverage beginning on NBC at 1 p.m. ET.
- Local Central Indiana coverage of the race will be available on NBC affiliate WTHR.
- Broadcast coverage of qualifications on Saturday, Aug. 15 begins on NBC at 3 p.m. ET.
- Sunday, Aug. 16 broadcast coverage of Pole Day begins on NBC at 1 p.m. ET.