The news today that the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday 23 August will be held behind closed doors without fans was absolutely the right and only decision given the current global COVID 19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has caused havoc around the world with thousands of deaths with the United States recording 4.8 million cases and 158,000 deaths. The state of Indiana has 70,944 cases and 2,996 deaths.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is in Marion County where they have had 15,173 cases and 772 deaths.
The racing will be still be fantastic as IndyCar has provided action pacled racing in 2020 and the health and safety of fans, competitors, and the public.
It is tough news for local restaurants and hotels near the Speedway however with lockdowns in place they will recover.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will survive this and IndyCar will due to the broadcast money from NBC Sports coverage of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.
Fans may be desperately disappointed that they can’t attend the race however the important thing is that fans are protected and are safe.
Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske tweeted:
The health of our fans is our No. 1 priority. It will be sad to not interact with the crowd this year, but I’ll be proud to take the green flag as the reigning champ of the most amazing race in the world! Thanks to NBC we’ll showcase an amazing show live on August 23! #indy500 pic.twitter.com/0D6439TRQH
— Simon Pagenaud (@simonpagenaud) August 4, 2020
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal tweeted:
Today’s news brought lots of mixed emotions, but we’ve got to do what is necessary for our fans & community’s health & safety now in order to keep this sport & race alive for generations to come. It won’t be the same without you all on 8/23, but we’ll be back strong in 2021.(1/2) pic.twitter.com/ExWRxFXhiE
— Graham Rahal (@GrahamRahal) August 4, 2020
Defending IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden commented on Twitter saying:
Can’t imagine how tough this decision must have been. It won’t be the same without everyone at @IMS , but it’s still the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. Tell your friends to tune in, post on social & tell the world to tune in. Let’s make this the most watched race ever. #Indy500 pic.twitter.com/a0ZadLYyuP
— Josef Newgarden (@josefnewgarden) August 4, 2020
Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe said:
I’ll miss each and every one of the fans on race day, but there is NO excuse not to watch the race this year. Spread the word. Be a friend and tell a friend. August 23 @ 1pm on @nbc!#Indy500 // #INDYCAR // @Genesys // @FollowAndretti // @hondaracing_hpd
— James Hinchcliffe (@Hinchtown) August 4, 2020
Arrow McLaren SP sent out a series of tweets:
We are saddened to imagine the Indy 500 without its heart & soul, the fans. We support this difficult decision that was made for the health & safety of everyone involved. pic.twitter.com/ljkpwbD6Zv
— Arrow McLaren SP (@ArrowMcLarenSP) August 4, 2020
The 104th runnimg of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge takes place on Sunday August 23 and is live on NBC Sport at 1PM ET.