INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske is optimistic that a fair amount of fans will be allowed to attend the Indianapolis 500 this coming May.
Just six months ago, the Indianapolis 500 was held in August after having been postponed from its usual date during Memorial Day weekend in May because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, with vaccines being distributed and COVID numbers looking much better than this time a year ago, Penske is eager to have fans back.
“We’re not making any predictions at all because anything I would say today could be completely wrong,” he said to a NASCAR media Zoom call. “Our goal is to have 250,000.”
That would roughly be full seating capacity for the speedway.
“It’s outside. We’ve got the biggest stadium in the world here,” Penske added. “It’s a matter of where we’re going to be with the CDC and the governor and the mayor (of Indianapolis), so I don’t have any number that I’d want to hang my hat on.”
Penske said so far 170,000 tickets have been sold for the upcoming 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. Penske, who also owns the NTT IndyCar Series, says ticket sales are also open for the first three races of the IndyCar season at Barber Motorsports Park, St. Petersburg, and the two Texas oval races.
“It just shows you the interest in the race and we’ve got a lot of people that are waiting, and we have our (general admission) and what else we normally do on that weekend, but I think the good news is we’re going to have the race and it will be limited or be open based on what the current numbers are.”
IMS was a vaccination hub earlier this month where Penske said upwards of 16,000 Hoosiers were vaccinated for COVID in four days, including Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.