Drivers will begin practicing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week for the “greatest spectacle in racing,” knowing that come race day the stands won’t be packed with people.
IMS officials recently announced there will be no fans in attendance at this year's running of the Indy 500.
After postponing the race from May to August and reducing the number of tickets available, the recent rise in COVID-19 cases pushed officials to run the race without spectators.
IndyCar driver Graham Rahal said while the atmosphere will be different this year, the race needs to happen.
“We have to run this race. I mean, no matter how you look at it, I want fans there as much as anybody. We thrive off of that,” said Rahal. “I know, I get the heat for it on social media when I say that teams probably wouldn't live without this race ... we care about the jobs that it provides and the cottage industries that it provides in Indianapolis and everything else that it does for our city; the economic impact. We have to have this race and so at some point that call needed to be made.”
Fellow IndyCar drivers Spencer Pigot and Takuma Sato, who won the Indy 500 in 2017, were also on the call and echoed similar thoughts.
Rahal said while some have suggested delaying the race till October, he doesn’t see the COVID-19 threat being gone by then.