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‘Under the microscope’: Indianapolis Speedrome limits fan capacity after $1,000 fine

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Speedrome was emptier Saturday night than the previous weekend when massive crowds filled the race track.

News 8 crews saw a lot more masks and social distancing this Saturday, all in compliance with the Marion County Public Health Department, but that doesn’t mean everyone is happy about it.

Last Saturday, News 8 was first to broadcast the view from inside the Indianapolis Speedrome, with crowds far above the 25% capacity and hardly a mask in sight.

“It’s beyond discouraging,” Indianapolis Mayor Hogsett announced on Tuesday. “We have spent months, clawing our way to where we are. To see others possibly squander that in the course of just one afternoon is painful.”

Compare those crowds to this Saturday side by side, and you have a very stark difference.

“Well, the track is pretty empty,” Harold Workman said. “Last week, yeah, it might have been a little overcrowded. But that shows you how many people have been locked down so long that wants to get out here and at least enjoy one or two days of ‘life’ out here in this crazy world.”

Masks stayed on as the track announcer told race fans Saturday night that they were “under the microscope” and the track would like to stay in business. That business was threatened by the Marion County Public Health Department earlier this week after the track was fined $1,000 following complaints that the track had violated the public health order in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“We’re hoping that we can get their attention first by doing the fines,” Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department, said. “Then, after that, our next step is to close businesses.”

Race fans coming in and out of the track let News 8 know about their disappointment in the mask requirement, but that didn’t stop fans from showing up.

“Yeah, I guess a little disappointed for the drivers and stuff,” race fan Jake Cochran said. “I know they like the crowd.”

Races for the rest of the season won’t look quite as lively as they did in the viewer video sent to News 8 last week, but fans say it’s still a great event.

“People are really excited to get back and get to be one of those first 25% in this raceway tonight,” Cochran said. “They’re just excited to get back and try it again.”

News 8 reached out to the Marion County Public Health Department on Saturday evening to see if they had any eyes on the track and late Saturday night the department had not responded.