SPEEDWAY, Ind. — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) is roaring back to life as engines hit the track for the first time this year. This weekend is a historic weekend ahead featuring IndyCar and NASCAR in a doubleheader for the first time but with no fans.
For months they’ve been working to enhance IMS for the fans. This weekend fans won’t get a view of those upgrades from the inside, but they can from the outside while getting a feel for race weekend.
“We just wish we could enter today just to sit in the grandstands and social distance,” said Mulberry Resident and Spectator, Debbie Jacobs.
Something many wish they could but can’t in the age of COVID.
“My favorite part of events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is watching families and kids and folks coming through the gates and just the tradition of coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said IMS President Doug Boles.
Unfortunately, that won’t be happening this weekend as IMS opens its track for the first time in 2020. And for the first time without fans.
“Anytime we know that there is something here it’s maybe a 45-minute drive, no big deal. :51 we can come and enjoy them,” said Debbie.
Debbie and her husband Bruce Jacobs drove from Mulberry, IN to enjoy the fan experience outside the gates. Bruce says it’s something he did when he was little with his father. Now he’s 68-years-old with the same excitement.
“This place still till this day just pumps me up. And I love to hear engines out there. Engines is music to me,” said Bruce.
One thing they will miss are the new upgrades to IMS to enhance the fan experience. It ranges from new facelifts to electronics, new facilities, and landscaping. Something IMS President Doug Boles is thrilled that it has finally come to fruition.
“From the restrooms to the new video board here outside of turn one, a new video board on the road course, all sorts of work done on Georgetown Road, a lot of grass work. The place just looks really really good. The new video board in a lot of places so customers can have a better access of watching the race track all the way around this place.”
And that’s exactly what Bruce and Debbie did outside the track.
“We drove down the street over here 3 times just because we could see and hear it,” said Debby.
And for those working at IMS, it just shows them how exhilarating races are and what they mean to fans regardless of where they are in proximity.
“It just says a lot about how important this place is for fans. and how much of tradition it is to come when race cars are on track here,” said Boles.
IMS says they’ve reached out to Indy 500 ticket holders to determine who still wants to attend and to try to keep them as close to their original seats as possible. They’re also working on more logistics as far as masks and other safety requests. We should know more in the coming weeks.