Penske hopes for 250K fans for Indy 500

Roger Penske told NASCAR media during a Zoom call Monday that just over two months out from Indy 500 race day, he continues to hope to land clearance to hold the race without any capacity restrictions. The CDC thinks every American adult will be vaccinated by then.

“Our goal is to have 250,000,” Penske said Monday, referring to the track’s grandstand capacity. “That’s what we want to have. It’s outside. We’ve got the biggest stadium in the world here, and it’s a matter of where we’re going to be with the CDC and the governor and the mayor, so I don’t have any number that I’d want to hang my hat on.

“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.”

“We’re not making any predictions at all because anything I would say today could be completely wrong.”

Penske said a decision on the Indy 500 crowd would be made “in conjunction with the governor and the mayor.”

Penske said he was encouraged that the COVID-19 numbers for Marion County (home to Indianapolis Motor Speedway) was 3.1 percent.

“It’s way down and I think with that (the crowd) will hopefully be a big number,” Penske said. “That’s what our hope is, but what we’ve done in the meantime we’ve been doing vaccinations (at IMS). We did 16,000 in three days and we’re getting ready to do a mass vaccination in April.  We haven’t worked out the details yet with the state, but we think there’s an opportunity to make a big impact here, where we could give back to the community.

“With the size of our facility and what we were able to accomplish just in three days, we think we can really help this whole area here — the city of Indianapolis and the surrounding counties.”