INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) - The green flag is set to drop for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, August 23rd. Race fans are going into the race knowing full well that it's going to look a lot different and that's thanks to COVID-19.
Typically, the greatest spectacle in racing has over 250,000 fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, but COVID-19 had different ideas in 2020.
The race is slated for late August now and only allowing 25% capacity. News 10 spoke to a lifelong racing fan as well as the voice of the Indy 500 to get their thoughts on the changes in place.
Tom Hays is as big of a fan of the Indianapolis 500 as anyone. This year's race will be his 60th consecutive Indy 500. He says nothing could stop him from going this year, even with all the changes.
"Missing the 500 in May--it just didn't seem like May," Hays said, "I hope that August the 23rd, even though it's going to be a very reduced crowd, I hope we get it in. It's going to be strange."
Some changes include required mask wearing for all patrons, temperature checks upon entry, and of course only 25% capacity throughout the speedway. That's what disappoints Mark Jaynes. He's the Chief Announcer for the IMS Radio Network. He says the historic race was really gaining attendance momentum after it's 100th running.
"Things were trending, certainly, in a positive direction," he said, "It's unfortunate, but I think the noticeable change will probably be on Carb day, which is Friday, and then, of course, the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500."
Jaynes says it's going to be a much different feel for those in attendance this year. However, for him and his crew, he says they'll try to keep it business as usual and do a great job for all the additional fans listening from home.
Once we're there and on the grounds, we'll realize that something is different," Jaynes concluded, "Once we go on air and go to work, we will focus on the task at hand and it won't be that noticeable."
Both men have their fingerprints all over the incredible history of the Indianapolis 500, and they agree that this year's race is going to be one for the record books for many different reasons.