Washington – The Indianapolis 500 will allow up to 135,000 spectators for the race on May 30, the largest crowd for a sporting event in the U.S. since the COVID-19 pandemic began, officials announced Wednesday.
The huge crowd will represent about 40% of capacity at famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway with safety protocols in place at the 2½ mile (4 km) oval for the 105th edition of the IndyCar showpiece.
“The city and state have worked with us to identify the appropriate health and safety precautions so that we can successfully host a limited but very enthusiastic crowd,” Speedway president J. Douglas Boles said.
“Our fans mean everything to us and we can’t wait to welcome them ‘Back Home Again’ for this year’s Indy 500,” he added, playing off the song “Back Home Again in Indiana,” which is played annually at the race.
Takuma Sato will be trying to defend his 2020 Indy 500 title and capture his third trophy in five seasons at “The Brickyard,” though no one has won back-to-back Indy 500s since Brazil’s Helio Castroneves in 2001 and 2002.
Face masks will be required for fans and temperature checks will be required for entry. Social distancing will be in place between groups in the grandstands and infield spectator mounds will be closed all month with no general admission race day tickets sold.
Frequent cleaning and sanitation processes will be in place for the race with hand sanitizer and washing stations available throughout the track.
“The health and safety of everyone coming to IMS, along with Central Indiana and the Hoosier State, have been paramount throughout this process,” Boles said.
The Speedway will continue to serve as a mass Covid-19 vaccination site from April 24 through May 27, which includes some times when cars will be practicing and qualifying.
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