Race fans will once again hear the sound of cars at the Brickyard—but it will either be from their TV sets or outside of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
After an extensive review with local and state health officials in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced on Thursday that the Fourth of July weekend of races will proceed without fans in the stands--and without the popular Driver2SaveLives BC39 USAC Midget races to kick off the weekend.
The schedule coincides with the Stage 5 “Back on Track Indiana” reopening plans, which include sporting events, but not for Marion County—home of the Speedway.
"While we certainly worked diligently to run our events with spectators, we reached a point where we needed to make a final decision, because the race weekend is less than a month away," Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles said. "Today it's not possible to be confident that Indianapolis will be at Stage 5 of the state's reopening plan by the Fourth of July weekend.
"We are extremely appreciative of the time and expertise Governor Holcomb, Mayor Hogsett and state and local public health officials have given us over the last few months. This was a collaborative process and a decision we're all aligned with after thorough review of the situation. We remain committed to welcoming the world's greatest fans to the Speedway for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in late August.”
The weekend kicks off with the debut of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix/NASCAR Xfinity Pennzoil 150 doubleheader on Saturday July 4. The Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records NASCAR Cup race is scheduled for July 5.
"I was bummed out this morning when I read it just because, for me, that’s going home and I get to see so many people and so many of my fans that I don’t get to see anywhere else," said current Xfinity Series points leader Chase Briscoe. "I always look really forward to that race because of that reason, so I was pretty bummed out when I saw that there was no fans, but, obviously, I understand why we’re not gonna have fans. That doesn’t make it any easier. That place is so fun to go to for me and get to see everybody, and even ride around the little driver intro car and ride around and have everybody waving, so it’s just a special weekend for me every time and all of my family gets to go, and they don’t get to go to very many races as an entire family, so I’m definitely bummed out, but we still get to race at Indianapolis.
"It’s gonna be a huge deal to be able to be the first race on the road course in the stock cars. That’s gonna be a huge opportunity and it’s gonna be an awesome weekend still, regardless with us and IndyCar and then the Cup Series on Sunday, so it will definitely be fun to watch it on TV, but we wish fans could be there. It’s gonna be a big deal I think next year whenever we go back.”
Fans who purchased tickets for the GMR Grand Prix, Pennzoil 150, Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records, Driven2SaveLives BC39 or the FGL Fest concert will have the option of a credit for future IMS events or a refund.
IndyCar returns to action this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway for the Genesys 300--the first of a 15-race schedule that will run through October.