The Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday marked 100 days to the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 and says it is working to avoid a repeat of last year’s race with empty stands. IMS President Doug Boles tells our partners at WISH-TV officials expect to have fans at the race, though it is still unclear how many.
Boles says IMS and INDYCAR owner Roger Penske is encouraged by the reduction in COVID-19 cases in central Indiana.
“When you start thinking about the numbers in the state of Indiana and Indianapolis are going in the right direction, the vaccines are becoming available, and Roger Penske wants to win. He makes sure they’re (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) really successful and he’s got us focused on that,” said Boles. “So right now, I would tell you we’re going to have fans at the Indianapolis 500. It’s just going to be a matter of how many, how it looks, and we just all have to be patient. … If those numbers keep going down, then that’s just better for all of us.”
Boles says patience is key when it comes to when more information will be available. He says IMS officials are waiting to do everything they can to make the decision until they know precisely how many fans can be allowed to hold the event safely.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed last year’s Indy 500, which was postponed until August. Officials had originally planned to run the race at 50% attendance capacity, a number that was later reduce to 25% before IMS ultimately decided to run without fans.