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Indianapolis 500 crowd will be limited to 50 percent capacity at Aug. 23 race

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The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 will be held before a crowd limited to 50 percent capacity, the track announced Friday.

In a letter to season ticket holders, the track said it expects to accommodate “at least 50 percent of original ticket quantities.” The track will take requests for more than 50 percent but might move fans to another location because of social distancing requirements.

The track also encouraged ticket holders older than 65 to consider staying home, according to CDC guidelines.

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Track president Doug Boles said in a release that the track is “finalizing a number of additional carefully considered health and safety measures. We’ll unveil the specific details of our comprehensive plan in the coming weeks.”

In a “Coffee With Kyle” sitdown on Jan. 31, Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske told NBC Sports’ Kyle Petty that Indianapolis Motor Speedway had 230,000 seats, and that 78 percent of its ticket allotment had been sold, including all of the track’s suites.

Though the track’s release said attendance will be limited to 50 percent, track officials clarified to NBC Sports that “attendance” will include the grandstands, infield and suites.

The track previously has estimated having a total capacity of roughly 300,000 including the grandstands, infield and suites — meaning it’s possible the grandstands still could be more than 50 percent full on Aug. 23.

The track confirmed Friday that its popular “Snake Pit” (an EDM dance party that annually drew 30,000 on race day) will be closed this year. It still is working on how the infield and suites will be configured, but both are expected to have fans on Aug. 23.

Penske previously had said he wanted to have a full crowd for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 (which will be broadcast on NBC). He said earlier this month the Indy 500 would be held only with fans.

Next week, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be closed to fans while playing host to IndyCar and NASCAR on July 4-5.

Here’s the Friday release about the Indy 500 from IMS:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials confirmed June 26 their commitment to welcoming spectators to the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, Aug. 23, with the venue capacity limited to 50 percent attendance.

“The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” was postponed from its original date of Sunday, May 24 due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

“We’re committed to running the Indy 500 on Sunday, Aug. 23 and will welcome fans to the world’s greatest racing venue,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “We will be limiting attendance to approximately 50 percent of venue capacity, and we are also finalizing a number of additional carefully considered health and safety measures. We’ll unveil the specific details of our comprehensive plan in the coming weeks.”

IMS is communicating with existing ticketholders to learn of their intent to use their race tickets. Credits will be available for ticketholders who choose to adjust their order. Individuals in high-risk groups are encouraged to consider staying home and returning in 2021. In close consultation with public health officials, the IMS team is also working diligently to finalize a comprehensive plan of health measures that will be unveiled for spectators in the near future.

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has second surgery on fractured arm

MotoGP Marc Marquez second surgery
JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images
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Defending MotoGP series champion Marc Marquez underwent a second surgery Monday after a titanium plate inserted in his fractured right arm sustained damage. The Repsol Honda Team said in a statement that it’ll be two days before the recovery period is determined.

Marquez was injured during a crash in the July 19 season opener. He underwent an initial surgery July 21 in Barcelona, and doctors said there was no nerve damage.

The eight-time champion was cleared to race in the season’s second event Jerez. But Marquez decided to skip the July 26 race after experiencing discomfort while riding the No. 93 bike in a July 25 practice.

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He had planned to race in Sunday’s grand prix at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic in hopes of returning to defend his title. His status for Sunday apparently will be unclear until at least Wednesday.

In a statement Monday, the team said the titanium plate in Marquez’s right arm successfully was replaced after stress accumulation. Marquez will stay in the hospital for two days recovering.

Dr Xavier Mir, who performed the surgery at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus, said in the release that “Marc Marquez underwent surgery 13 days ago and today he returned to the operating room. The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient. An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so today the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation.

“The rider has not felt pain during this period. He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. Unfortunately, an overstress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time.”