Indy 500: 25% attendance; masks, temperature checks mandatory

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UPDATE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Aug. 4 that the Indy 500 will be run without fans for the first time.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway released new Indy 500 fan guidelines Tuesday for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, including an expected 25 percent attendance for the race and mandatory face coverings for all attendees.

Ticket sales for the Aug. 23 race (which will be shown live at 1 p.m. ET on NBC) will end Friday.

A nearly 100-page health plan will be released Wednesday “that provides guidelines and protocols for how the race will be run.”

INDY 500 INFOWhen to watch the race’s 104th running

INDYCAR IN 2020How to watch the 2020 schedule

Among the notable elements:

–Temperature checks will be conducted at all track entrances;

–Packaged food at concession stands;

–Hand sanitizer will be distributed.

Last month, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials said they were surveying fans and expected a crowd limited to 50 percent.

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

Here’s the Indy 500 fan guidelines release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, July 21, 2020) – Based on policies and procedures put into effect by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IMS officials announced today that attendance for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, Aug. 23 will be approximately 25 percent of capacity. Face coverings will be required for all attendees.

Ticket sales will not be permitted after Friday, July 24, further limiting the number of people who will attend the annual spectacle at the world’s largest outdoor sports facility.

IMS has prepared a detailed, nearly 100-page plan that provides guidelines and protocols for how the race will be run this year. The plan will be released publicly Wednesday, July 22 ahead of a conference call with Speedway officials. A media advisory with details surrounding the conference call will follow shortly.

“In June, we announced the race was on and that attendance would be limited to no more than 50 percent of capacity,” said Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles. “We also made clear we intended to do things differently this year. By offering credits to fans who had previously purchased tickets, encouraging those over 65 to stay at home, limiting attendance in the infield, reducing tickets in our suites and promising fans their decision to not attend would not impact their seniority or right to renew tickets for 2021, we now anticipate attendance at approximately 25 percent of capacity. We will welcome fans back, and we have an aggressive plan in place, which has been developed through collaboration with national, state and local health experts.”

Indy officials have made clear this year’s race will include numerous safety precautions, including the reassignment of seats to provide for greater distancing; the issuance and required use of masks, distribution of hand sanitizer to all who enter; temperature checks in order to enter; and changes throughout the facility to minimize lines and gathering spots, including limiting options from concession stands to mostly pre-packaged foods. Numerous other changes will also be in place.

“We look forward to welcoming fans back to the 500 in person. Our outdoor facility is mammoth, and with attendance of about 25 percent, it will certainly look different this year,” said Miles. “We want to demonstrate that even under current circumstances, people can gather with carefully planned procedures in place so we don’t have to go back to shutting down our country and our community.”

IMS will fulfill all ticket requests that have been received from existing customers. Those tickets will be distributed beginning the first week of August.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.