Despite Coronavirus Pandemic, Indy 500 Will Run in August With 50% Fan Capacity

The race could still see over 100,000 spectators descend on Indianapolis, even at half capacity

Indy 500 Coronavirus
IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud (22) of the Menards Team Penske Chevrolet leads the field to the green flag for the start of the NTT IndyCar Series 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019. (Photo by )
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Though most sports are working their way towards a return to action, they are mostly understood to be trying to return without fans in attendance. That appears to not be the case for the biggest auto race in the United States, however, as the Indy 500 will reportedly run on August 23 with up to 50% capacity in the fan grandstands.

President J. Douglas Boles announced as much in a statement on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website, noting that they will also be employing additional safety measures to protect fans against the spread of the coronavirus:

We will be limiting attendance to approximately 50 percent of venue capacity, and we are also finalizing a number of additional carefully considered health and safety measures. We’ll unveil the specific details of our comprehensive plan in the coming weeks.

It’s important to note that 50% capacity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway could still be over 100,000 spectators; the Speedway does not release attendance numbers, but the grandstands are raised to hold 250,000 people, with an additional 50,000 or so coming in from the infield seats.

The race, which was originally planned for late May before being rescheduled due to the pandemic, takes place in Marion County, the hardest-hit county in the state of Indiana. However, the number of new positive COVID-19 tests have dropped to under 100 per day throughout June. The hope is that by the end of August, the idea of gathering so many fans in one spot for the Indy 500 will not spark a second wave of infections.

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