The 2021 Indianapolis 500 represented not only The Greatest Spectacle in Racing's return to its traditional place on Memorial Day Weekend, but also an ambitious undertaking as mass gatherings begin across the United States yet again. After safety protocols for IndyCar's biggest race were worked out, a total of 135,000 spectators -- the largest crowd for a sporting event since March of 2020 -- were permitted to attend last month's Indy 500.
A month later, Marion County health officials have some encouraging news to share. According to a report by WTHR, only 19 of the 135,000 spectators for the Indianapolis 500 were traced as being infected with COVID-19 and having attended last month's race. Officials stated that all 19 people were from the state of Indiana and that all lived outside of Marion County.
News of little spread of COVID at the Indianapolis 500 is a good development for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as it prepares for its next major race weekend later this summer. In August, the speedway will host both the NTT IndyCar Series and the NASCAR Cup Series for a pair of races on its road course configuration.
As the spring has turned to the summer, speedways across the country -- let alone Indiana -- have returned to hosting full-capacity crowds. While the Indianapolis Motor Speedway limited its capacity, allowing about 40% of the spectators it is capable of hosting, the Charlotte Motor Speedway hosted a capacity crowd for the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day as the Indy 500.
IndyCar's next visit to their flagship speedway will come after a summer break for the series. Following the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 4, the series will be off for over a month before the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville on August 8 and the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix at Indianapolis on August 14.