Even as Indiana officials slow down their move into the next phase of the state’s reopening plan, Gov. Eric Holcomb says that it is still possible that thousands of fans will be allowed to gather for next month’s Indianapolis 500.
During a press conference announcing the decision not to fully move into Phase Five of the state’s reopening plan, Holcomb says that he is confident that officials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will put protocols in place to keep fans safe, and that race tracks and other auto racing venues will still be allowed to house 50 percent capacity crowds for events.
“If you’re properly physically distanced and you’re masked and you’re outdoors, it (the chance of getting coronavirus), goes down,” Holcomb said. “They’ll make the right decision, and we’ll support that.”
The speedway has nearly 260,000 permanent seats and can house up to 400,000 fans when infield access is included, and the plan for the Aug. 23 race is to allow 50 percent capacity at the track.
Even with cases starting to climb in some parts of Indiana, and increasing dramatically in other parts of the country, Holcomb says that there is still time to make determinations on the proper course of action at the track.
“It is weeks away, and it’s a massive piece of property,” he said. “You can really physically distance there. There’s some time before we get there.”
The speedway will host a pair of events this weekend, as the IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis for a race on Saturday. For the first time in history, NASCAR will come to the track on the same weekend as IndyCar, running a race on Sunday.
No fans will be allowed at either of the races, but the plan, for now, remains that the speedway will host fans for the Indianapolis 500 in August, and Holcomb is confident in track management’s ability to keep race fans safe.
“The IMS during this pandemic has been extremely thoughtful and thorough and fan-centric when it comes to safety,” he said.