TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – As the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 approaches, those close to racing locally react to changes for the event.
While many local sports were halted due to the pandemic, beginning in late June, local race fans were invited back to the Terre Haute Action Track.
The track’s promoter, Bob Sargent, says while safety measures were taken such as limiting attendance that the overall feel for the events have remained positive.
“We’ve had a few races this year, motorcycles, sprint cars, World of Outlaws and it’s been really well received. People seem to be ready to get out and be at outdoor events,” Sargent said.
As the Indy 500 prepares to run with their own guidelines in place, such as 25 percent capacity for fans, Sargent says he believes it’s important to keep that tradition going.
“With the legends that have raced there and all the tradition, I think it’s the right thing to be doing,” Sargent said.
For 15 years, Terre Haute resident Mike King served as “The Voice of the 500” on the IMS Radio Network.
He says a large part of what makes the event so special is the spectacle.
“The spectacle is 300,000 plus fans, the spectacle is all the bands that have appeared the day prior in the 500 festival parade, that isn’t going to happen this year,” King said.
Without these elements in place, King says he feels what makes the 500 so unique may be lost.
“The greatest spectacle in racing is a very apt description, if you subtract the spectacle, it just becomes another race unfortunately,” King said.
King also went on to say that the race has been cancelled entirely in the past, during World War I and II, and he hopes that organizers look towards a similar approach but this time due the virus.
“Lets hope that come 2021, just like the Olympic games we’re back on track to be able to enjoy it again without going into the stands and really being frightened,” King said.
King also says that as an Indiana resident he is concerned with an event that large taking place during the pandemic.