INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host the IndyCar-NASCAR double header without fans on the weekend of July 4th.
The track officials were optimistic that IMS could be the first major sports venue to have fans in the stands again this summer. Instead, much like the rest of the tracks, the grandstands will be empty as the big races have resumed after the coronavirus pandemic.
IMS officials announced the decision Thursday after consulting with local and state officials.
“While we have certainly worked diligently to run our events with spectators, we have reached a point where we had to make a final decision as the race weekend is less than a month away,” said Mark Miles, who runs the IndyCar series As President of Penske, Entertainment Corp. “Today there is no way to be confident that Indianapolis will be in phase 5 of the state’s reopening plan by the weekend of July 4th.”
Indiana governor Eric Holcomb announced a five-step plan to reopen the state last month. The final phase is expected to return to the sports venues on July 4th – the exact day a double header from the IndyCar-NASCAR Xfinity series is scheduled to take place on the sprawling track. Marion County – home of Indianapolis, the largest city in the state – recently entered phase three.
IMS draws more than 275,000 people for the Indy 500, the world’s largest one-day sporting event, which has been postponed three months to August 23 this year. Attendance at Brickyard weekend for NASCAR visit has decreased in recent years. The estimated 60,000 last year was an improvement on 2018. However, with roughly 235,000 fixed seats on the speedway, there might be enough space for fans to socially distance themselves if restrictions relax.
NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 is still on the historic 2.5-mile oval on the original July 5th date. NASCAR resumed its season on May 17th at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. IndyCar will open the season on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.