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Pocono Raceway president thanks fans for dedication through the rain

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A class move here from Pocono Raceway president Brandon Igdalsky, who released a letter to all fans and ticket buyers for their dedication to coming to the track despite three rainouts in as many major events.

Both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races were delayed until Monday and the second one produced a fog-shortened finish, with Chris Buescher scoring a surprise first career victory for Front Row Motorsports.

Then the Verizon IndyCar Series came this weekend and completed the rare “dripple” as it was coined by USA Today Sports’ Brant James, as heavy rains swept through right about an hour before the scheduled green flag time on Sunday. IndyCar got all 500 miles in on Monday.

Igdalsky, who along with his staff kept his spirits high all weekend and even poked fun at himself by changing his name on Twitter to “The Rain King,” released this letter to fans on Monday:

Pocono Raceway Fans,

Thank you, thank you, thank you. As you know, we like things in threes here at ‘The Tricky Triangle’ but three postponements isn’t what we had in mind.

We know this has been a challenging race season and I just wanted to thank you all for your support. Mother Nature wasn’t kind to us this year and despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to run any races on Sunday. We are very grateful for all who came back to see tremendous action on Mondays.

We made some changes this year to Pocono Raceway. Some were obvious, the Pocono Raceway Bark Park, additional SAFER Barrier, more catchfence, improvements in parking and traffic and some not that were made behind the scenes. We hope these made your race experience better.

Thank you also to those who have reached out and offered suggestions. We altered some of our communication plans so fans in the stands were better informed and added additional signage in our RV and Camping areas.

We are always looking to improve and do more for our fans. Our planning for 2017 begins today.

We already know our NASCAR weekends for next year (June 9-11 and July 28-30) and will learn our Verizon IndyCar Series date soon. Keep an eye our website and social media channels for more details.

Thank you again for all of your support. We hope to see you again very soon.

IndyCar is back for two more years at Pocono through 2018 with dates yet to be announced; NASCAR maintains its two-event per year run at “The Tricky Triangle,” as well.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.