When the Indy 500 returns to its traditional race day May 30, it will mark the country’s largest attended sporting event since the pandemic began.
Speedway management, Penske Entertainment, recently announced 135,000 spectators will be allowed to attend the event. The total is about 40 percent of the famed raceway’s capacity. The 2020 Indy 500 was held last August without spectators.
To date, the April 18 Alabama football game is currently the highest-attended post-pandemic event with over 47,000 fans.
“The number-one thing fans can do to ensure a great race day is get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a statement. “We continue to offer vaccinations at IMS and will be extending our mass vaccination clinic throughout May. This is all part of the effort to continue getting Indiana back on track.”
Indy 500: Masks required for 2021 race
Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a mass vaccination site since April 1. Fans will be required to wear masks at the race and will also have their temperatures taken as they enter and the track isn’t selling general admission tickets.
The track has 250,000 grandstand seats and there is ample room for more fans to camp and spread out through the infield. While the official attendance is not typically announced for Indy 500s in normal times, there have been races with an estimated 300,000 people in attendance.
That total made the Indy 500 the most-attended sporting event in pre-pandemic North America.
The 2021 race will be sixth race of the IndyCar season.