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IMS employees working long hours, cleaning and planning for race; tickets expected end of week

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is preparing for the 105th Indy 500. 

This year is certainly different than last year when no fans were allowed at the race. On May 30, we’ll see 135,000 people at the track, which is only 40% of the normal 300,000. But the track will still be staffed almost identical to a normal year. 

They will open every grand stand, almost every concession stand and all the restrooms. On race day, more than 5,000 people will be managing through those avenues. They will also be taking temperatures and checking coolers. 

A sanitizing plan is already in place. Employees are focusing on touch points where customers gather. Plus, a deep clean of all food venues and a plan to make food delivery safe. 

There will be a few less lanes coming in to the track. All of the gates will be open but there will be about 120 lanes of access verses the normal 200. 

IMS president Doug Boles says employees had to plan in five weeks what they normally take five or six months to do. 

“We’re still asking for a little bit of patience from our customers who have Indy 500 tickets because we are literally going through every section by section and mailing those tickets out as they get completed and it’s a long process,” he said. “Normally, we start delivering those blue envelopes and everything and everyone sort of gets it the same time. So, we just want to continue to let everyone know to be patient. I think by the end of this week all of tickets will be mailed and they should get a email to know when they’re coming.” 

Boles wants to make sure fans know they’re allowed at practice for the GMR Grand Prix, that race and all practice and qualifying days leading up to the 500. The venue is limited to 135,000 inside. Masks are part of the agreement the track made to hold the event. They want to make sure this is a safe transition from no fans to a lot of fans. IMS track officials are hoping this kicks off other big events across the country. 

The track is encouraging people to get a COVID-19 vaccine. They will have multiple locations inside the venue to get the shot on race day. It’s also offers on practice and qualifying days.