INDIANAPOLIS — Attendance at the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be capped at 25% and all fans will be required to wear face coverings, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced Tuesday.
The race, which normally is estimated to draw 350,000 fans, will now run with a maximum 87,500 racegoers spread out across at the grandstands, infield and suites at the 2.5-mile track if all available tickets are sold. Ticket sales will end Friday.
The race will be shown live on TV locally for the first time since 2016, race officials said Wednesday.
IMS leaders rescheduled the race from May 24 to Aug. 23 in late March. Officials said in June that race attendance would be limited to no more than 50%.
The latest decrease comes as COVID-19 cases increase in Indiana and across the United States. Even at 25% capacity, the race would be the largest event held in the United States since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Race organizers plan to release a nearly 100-page plan on Wednesday that provides guidelines and protocols for how the race will be run in 2020, according to a news release.
Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles said the Speedway is offering credits to fans who previously purchased tickets, encouraging people over 65 to stay home, limiting attendance in the infield, reducing suite tickets and promising fans that deciding not to attend the race will not impact their seniority or right to renew tickets in 2021.
“We will welcome fans back, and we have an aggressive plan in place, which has been developed through collaboration with national, state and local health experts,” Miles said in a news release.
Track leaders said this year's race will also include reassignment of seats to allow more space for social distancing, the issuance of and required use of masks, distribution of hand sanitizer, temperature checks and changes throughout IMS to limit lines and gathering spaces. Concession stand options will mostly be limited to pre-packaged foods.
“We look forward to welcoming fans back to the 500 in person. Our outdoor facility is mammoth, and with attendance of about 25%, it will certainly look different this year,” Miles said. “We want to demonstrate that even under current circumstances, people can gather with carefully planned procedures in place so we don’t have to go back to shutting down our country and our community.”
The IMS ticket office will fulfill all requests that have been received. Tickets will be distributed beginning in the first week of August.
IndyCar and NASCAR races held at IMS over the July 4 weekend were run without fans in attendance.