The Indianapolis 500 is right around the corner, and fans will be allowed to attend the big race — but there's a catch! The esteemed event will be taking health and safety measures, ensuring their crowds will not be packed and full as Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced the venue capacity is set to be limited to 50 percent. The Indy 500 was scheduled to run May 24 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're committed to running the Indy 500 on Sunday, Aug. 23, and will welcome fans to the world’s greatest racing venue," IMS President Doug Boles said in a statement. "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."
The race is set for Aug. 23. The practice sessions will be from Aug. 12 to 13 with the qualifications on Aug. 15 to 16. The full broadcast schedule has yet to be announced, but the qualifications will be televised on NBC. On Aug. 22, one day before the race, fans have the opportunity to meet the drivers and get autographs.
"Memorial Day weekend has always provided Indianapolis 500 fans an opportunity to honor the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our nation’s freedom," Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. "This August, we'll also have a unique and powerful opportunity to honor the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and National Guard members serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. We're grateful for the patience of our fans as we've navigated this situation, and we extend our thanks to NBC for its terrific partnership and diligent work to maximize broadcast coverage with this new schedule."
Called the "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," the Indy 500 began in 1911 with Ray Harroun winning the inaugural race. The was no Indy 500 from in 1917-18 as well as 1942-45 due to World War I and II, respectively. There have been three drivers to win the Indy 500 four times - A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears. When it comes to current drivers, Helio Castroneves has won three while seven have won it once. Castroneves won the Indy 500 in 2001, 2002, and 2009.