The Indianapolis 500 will take place at the end of May and will be the largest sporting event in the world since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020. The race is slated to allow 135,000 fans when it takes place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30. The track can hold 400,000 fans total, which sets the 2021 race attendance at 40% capacity. The infield's "Snake Pit" will be closed and no traditional concerts will be held.
“This event and this place means so much to everybody we see every day and we hear from every day, whether they are Hoosiers or race fans from around the world,” Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp., told The Associated Press. "We feel a real responsibility to protect that legacy and to grow it and to have the race. "We’re ready to take the next step in bringing back the economy and a lot of that in this city and state is driven by sports events which has been shut down for so many months. March Madness was incredibly successful, this is the next step and it just so happens this will probably be the biggest sporting event of the year."
The race will be like the 2020 version in the sense that fans in attendance are required to wear face coverings. They will also be required to submit to temperature checks when entering the track, and fans can also receive a COVID-19 vaccination if they want it. Milles believes 60% percent of the people attending the Indianapolis 500 will be vaccinated.
“Roger Penske and everyone associated with Penske Entertainment and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been incredible partners with us throughout the pandemic,” said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. “It is high time for fans to return to the greatest motor speedway in the world with this safety plan in place.”
This year's attendance number was determined after Indianapolis hosted the NCAA Men's basketball tournament through March into April with limited attendance. More sporting events are starting to allow an increased number of fans as the Alabama Crimson Tide football team had 47,218 fans at its spring football game. The Texas Rangers had over 37,000 for the home opener earlier this month, and an Australian Rules cricket match in Melbourne had 51,723 fans in March.