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Indy 500 To Run Without Fans In Attendance Due To COVID-19 Concerns

(FILE PHOTO: Doug Jaggers/WFYI)

The Indy 500 will run without people in the stands this year. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced the decision Tuesday, reversing previous plans to maintain some attendance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Citing rising trends in COVID-19 cases, IMS officials said that even allowing only 25 percent of fans to attend the race with safety precautions would not be the right thing to do.

Last month, organizers released a comprehensive health plan for race attendees including temperature checks, required face masks and hand sanitizer.

Gov. Eric Holcomb released a statement in response to the IMS decision applauding track owner Roger Penske and other officials for, “prioritizing the safety of fans.”

"I am grateful for Roger Penske’s leadership and his entire team for thoughtfully approaching this decision with transparency and collaboration," Holcomb said. "I want to encourage Hoosiers to continue to social distance, wear masks and take precautions so we can continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and hear the roar of the engines at the track next May."

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett released a statement echoing similar thoughts to Holcomb.

“[IMS] have consistently lived up to their commitment to collaborative planning and careful consideration of the data,” Hogsett said.

While no fans may attend the Aug. 23 race, IMS said it does plan to have fans back for the 2021 race.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.