INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s website on Monday showed plenty of seats up for grabs despite the reduced capacity for the coronavirus pandemic.
Only the B and E stands inside Turn 1, and the Paddock’s stands opposite the Pagoda are sold-out for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
Race fans must buy seats for the race; unlike previous years, no general admission is being offered due to the pandemic.
Doug Boles, president of the speedway, said Saturday that a decision had not yet been made on whether to tape-delay the broadcast in the Indianapolis area. He said a decision on the “blackout” would be made sometime after qualifications.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be at 40% capacity — that’s 135,000 race fans — for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 due to the pandemic, IMS announced in May. All concerts have also been canceled, including the popular race-day Snake Pit concert. With 135,000 fans, the race would be the largest sport event to date during the pandemic.
The speedway is the largest sporting facility in the world with more than 250,000 grandstand seats and the ability to host close to 400,000 on race day throughout the entire property.
In March, track and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said that 170,000 tickets had been sold for the 2021 race.
The 2020 race was moved from May to August due to the pandemic. It had no fans.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marion County Public Health Department has embraced best practices and public health policies that mitigate potential future infection risks, while preserving and protecting our local economy to the greatest extent possible. Months of collaborative planning and frequent communication between the Health Department and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has focused on developing numerous protocols, which in totality significantly enhance the health and safety of fans visiting IMS during the month of May.
“These protocols, which will continue to be in effect through Race Weekend, include spacing between customer pods, masks required in all areas including the paddock (which is over 90% vaccinated), mask ambassadors in the grandstands in addition to Health Department staff present at the race, readily available PPE, as well as constant and highly visible signage and announcements reminding fans of the health precautions in place. In addition, I know that COVID-19 vaccination has continued at IMS throughout the month of May, and I believe more grandstand sections were opened up this weekend to provide more options for folks to spread out.
“It is because of the efforts of our residents over the last fourteen months to mask up and socially distance that we are able to welcome fans back to the hallowed grounds of the IMS for this year’s Indy 500. We continue to ask that residents and visitors embrace the measures that will get us back to normal: receiving their COVID-19 vaccine, wearing a mask, washing their hands, and being mindful of the social distancing measures in place at the track to keep us all safe.”Aliya Wishner, communications specialist-COVID-19 response, Marion County Public Health Department