The briefing featured Penske Entertainment Corp. executives including Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles, IMS President Doug Boles, and INDYCAR President Jay Frye.
The Indianapolis 500 will begin at 1 p.m. Aug. 23, with the green flag scheduled for about 2:30 p.m.
Boles said many of the normal pre-race elements will remain this year, despite having no fans.
The Singing Surgeons will sing the anthem , and Jim Cornelison will return to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana.”
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will perform a flyover. Boles said this is often a special treat this year because the Thunderbird pilots are always busy on Memorial Day weekend, when the race is usually held.
Boles said he’s looking forward to welcoming fans back in 2021 to ascertain all the new improvements to the track, including new restrooms, an expanded perimeter, new video boards and multiple other improvements.
Frye said this is often the second fastest field in Indianapolis 500 history.
“I think it’ll be a tremendous race,” he said.
In terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, Miles said they planned for all kinds of different scenarios.
“We could have the simplest 88-page plan available…but if the general public health situation generally wasn’t at an area where it made sense to travel forward with fans then we wouldn’t,” he said.
He said there was nobody that came in and told them they couldn’t have fans, they made the choice themselves.
“We had to form a choice and that i think it had been the proper one. Sitting here today, a number of the metrics are better but still not where they have to be,” Miles said. “It was clear what the proper decision was.”
Boles said everyone had hoped pushing the race back to August would give them enough time, but obviously that didn’t compute .
He said the entire process has been an “emotional roller coaster” for everybody at IMS.
“Without the leadership of Roger Penske, I don’t skills we might have gotten through this,” Boles said. “To have him as a pacesetter during this point has been a blessing.”
Boles said he understands fans may show up outside the track on race day, but encourages them to remain home and watch the race on TV.
For those that plan to show up anyway, he urged them to wear a mask, practice social distancing and follow hygiene guidance.