NASCAR has been conducting fanless races since mid-May after a brief pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But if Roger Penske gets his way, that won’t be the case for the Indianapolis 500.
The owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series revealed his plan to RACER before Saturday night’s season opener at Texas. He promises the Aug. 23 race will run with fans in the stands come, or it’ll be pushed back to October.
“Trust me, we are going to run it (Indianapolis 500) with fans,” Penske said. “We’re on for fans in August and planning on it and we feel good. It’s still almost three months from now and I think we’ll be OK. But we will run it only with fans.”
That would explain why IMS announced it would be holding the Indy Car/NASCAR doubleheader and Brickyard 400 on July 4 and July 5 without fans. Fans’ initial reaction to the news wasn’t positive, but its a sacrifice Penske is willing to take.
“Look, we had a plan to go forward with fans on Brickyard weekend but it just didn’t make sense,” Penske said. “We didn’t want to do anything to impair the Indy 500 and we would have had to be the exception but we decided we couldn’t go early.
“If we had fans and had any problems, that would absolutely close the door for us on Indianapolis.”