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No fans in stands for INDYCAR's first race

Texas Motor Speedway will be the site
Posted at 5:22 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 17:23:03-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The race cars at Texas Motor Speedway will be making plenty of noise on June 6, but race fans will not.

They won't be able to come inside. INDYCAR confirmed Thursday it will begin it much-delayed 2020 season with the Genesys 300, a night race in Texas. There will be no fans in the stands due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns.

INDYCAR is taking a cue from NASCAR which has four races scheduled this month in South Carolina and North Carolina, also minus fans.

At Texas Motor Speedway, INDYCAR will run a condensed schedule with practice, qualifying and the race taking place on the same day. This will be the 24th consecutive year in which INDYCAR has raced at the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth.

“We’re excited and ready to kick off the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season at Texas Motor Speedway,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “We’ve worked closely with Eddie Gossage, the entire TMS team and public health officials on a plan of action that will ensure the safety of our event participants alongside an exciting return to competition for our drivers, teams and viewers tuning in from around the world.”

In a normal year, the Indianapolis 500 would have already taken place by June 6. This year, it has been postponed until August 23.

“America needs live sports and they are not going to believe what they see when the Genesys 300 storms into their living rooms on TV from Texas,” said Eddie Gossage, president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway. “One of the world’s greatest sporting events, the Indy 500, has been postponed until August by coronavirus, so all of that pent-up energy, anticipation, frustrations and anxiety will be pounding through the drivers’ nervous systems. Typically, the Genesys 300 results in a 220-mph photo finish.”

Steps being taken to protect all those involved in the Texas race include.

  • Strict access guidelines limiting the number of personnel on site
  • A health screening system administered to all participants
  • PPE equipment provided to everyone entering the facility, along with guidelines on usage
  • Social distancing protocols in place and carefully maintained
  • Revised competition layout to increase distancing

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has the NASCAR's Brickyard 400 scheduled for July 5 and the Indianapolis 500 in August.

IMS hopes to have fans in the stands for both races, but there has been no final decision.