IMS will limit this year’s Indianapolis 500 to half capacity amid pandemic; blackout expected to stay in effect

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UPDATE (Aug. 4, 2020)– IMS announced that the 2020 Indy 500 will run without fans. Read more here.

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will limit this year’s Indianapolis 500 to 50% capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 104th running of the race was originally scheduled for May 24 but delayed until Aug. 23 due to concerns about COVID-19.

“We’re committed to running the Indy 500 on Sunday, Aug. 23 and will welcome fans to the world’s greatest racing venue,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “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.”

IMS is reaching out to ticketholders to find out if they plan to use their tickets. Fans who choose to adjust their orders will receive credits.

IMS said fans in high-risk groups are encouraged to skip this year’s race and come back in 2021.

The track is working on a “comprehensive plan of health measures” that will be unveiled soon.

In a letter, Boles wrote that IMS will provide masks and hand sanitizer to fans.

“Consistent with CDC guidelines, we encourage customers who are 65 and older or have underlying medical conditions to consider staying home,” Boles wrote. “For those fans attending the race, we will provide masks and hand sanitizer and we recommend their use.”

IMS expects to be able to accommodate at least 50% of a ticketholder’s original ticket quantity.

“We welcome requests for more than 50% of your original order size, though ticket quantities of greater than 50% may be moved to another available location,” Boles wrote.

IMS is asking fans to log on to their account by Monday, July 6, to update their ticket orders.

According to our news gathering partners at IndyStar, Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said IMS does not plan to lift the blackout preventing fans in central Indiana from watching the race live on television.

Boles spoke to CBS4 on the subject Friday.

“So right now, our plans are just to continue to have that replay that folks in central Indiana are used to. We haven’t had any other conversations about that. Right now, our focus is on managing through our ticket customers, making sure we give customers as much of the experience as they’re used to, that tradition that they’re used to in those seats,” Boles said.

“We haven’t even talked about the television [issue],” Boles continued. “And I think the easiest way, right now for customers anyway, is to plan on  seeing it in the normal way [and] seeing it in the evening.”

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