The Indianapolis Motor Speedway sent out a letter on Friday to all its current Indy 500 ticketholders to let them know they’re welcome to come to the 104th running in August — but also to also try and get a grasp of how many of them might give the postponed race a pass this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The reason we’re doing it is so we can begin to understand who wants to be here,” Penske Entertainment President Mark Miles told RACER. “If they don’t want to be here or don’t want to use as many tickets as they usually do, we will give them credits for next year. So during the next 12 days we want them to tell us what they want to do.”
Miles says there will be a cap on the crowd, which was estimated at 350,000 in 2016 when it was sold out for the 100th running.
“We intend to limit our audience to 50 percent of our capacity and that includes reserved seats, suites, infield admission, media and competitors,” he said. “We think we can seat you right or near where you always sit and if want fewer seats we’ll credit your account and if you want more we’ll try to accommodate that.”
Added IMS President Doug Boles: “If they reduce their purchase they’ll get credit and keep their seniority.”
Regardless of the turnout on Aug. 23, IMS will be proactive in protecting its customers.
“We bought a whole lot of masks to distribute, plus disinfectant and we’re going to recommend they wear the masks,” continued Miles. “We won’t use any storm troopers to arrest them if they don’t but we want our voice and the state’s being clear.
“We also think folks who are 65 and older with underlying conditions should stay at home. We’re not telling them they can’t come but it’s the thing we believe they should do.”
Asked about social distancing, Miles replied: “It’s too early, that’s why we’ve got to find out how many are coming. I could give one answer if it was 50,000 and another if it was 125,000. We talk to state and city officials multiple times a week and we’ll continue to do that.
“They’ve not given us any specific direction. but we will do whatever is required under state and local regulations at the time.”
The full letter to ticketholders reads as follows:
Dear Indy 500 Customer,
We are looking forward to welcoming you back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 23 for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. While our racetrack has remained quiet, our work to enhance the venue has continued at INDYCAR speed, and we are excited for you to see all of the improvements.
Understanding how important the 500 is to our fans and our community, we have worked tirelessly to overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. After continued consultation with local and state health officials, along with feedback from fans like you, we are committed to running the Indy 500 as scheduled and with spectators in our stands. To do so, we will implement enhanced health and safety measures across nearly all facets of our August events. One key pillar of our plan is to realign seating to allow for more space between customers on Race Day.
Consistent with CDC guidelines, we encourage customers who are 65 and older or have underlying medical conditions to consider staying home. For those fans attending the race, we will provide masks and hand sanitizer and we recommend their use. We will provide more information on additional health and safety measures in the coming weeks.
As a current Indy 500 ticketholder, IMS expects to be able to accommodate at least 50% of your original ticket quantity in or near your current seating location. We welcome requests for more than 50% of your original order size, though ticket quantities of greater than 50% may be moved to another available location.
Please log in to your account at IMS.com by Monday, July 6 to let us know how many tickets you would like to request, up to the size of your original order. If you have questions or need assistance completing the online form, please call the IMS Ticket Office at 317-492-6700 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
If you choose not to retain some or all of your current order, you will receive an IMS account credit good for other IMS events, including 2020 practice, qualifying and Miller Lite Carb Day, the INDYCAR Harvest GP or your 2021 Indy 500 renewal.
New Indy 500 Race Day tickets will be issued to all customers for the rescheduled Indy 500. If you have already received your original Indy 500 Race Day tickets, you may keep them, but they will not be valid for entry. If you have already received your Indy 500 Race Day parking and camping passes, please retain these for use for the rescheduled Indy 500.
Importantly, your decision will not impact your seniority or right to renew your tickets for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 2021.
You must log in to your account at IMS.com and make your selections by Monday, July 6. If you do not log in and make your selections, your ticket order may be reduced by as much as 50%, and your new seats will be assigned in or near your current location. An account credit will be issued for the number of tickets removed from your order, and new tickets will be mailed to your address on record in early August.
While we are pleased to be able to welcome you back to the newly improved and enhanced Speedway for this year’s 500, we regret the inconvenience associated with these changes and appreciate your patience and support as we all continue to navigate these unprecedented times. Please visit IMS.com/COVID19 for additional information, FAQs and to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Thank you for being the best fans in the world, and please continue to stay safe and healthy this summer. We can’t wait to be Back Home Again with you soon.
J. Douglas Boles, IMS President
P.S. We know the Indy 500 is about tradition – some shared collectively and some unique to each of us. This year, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the actions necessary to keep our fans, participants and employees as safe as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances.