Indy 500 officials aim to pay tribute to traditions

U.S. & World

(WXIN) – Here at WDTN we are gearing up for the Indianapolis 500 this weekend. Wednesday, the top officials at the track held their final briefing ahead of the big race.

Without more than 300 thousand fans in the stands, Speedway officials said Wednesday that Sunday will be a made-for-TV event.

“There was never really a day when we imagined not having the race. It was really about what circumstances that we’d have to deal with at the time,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp.

Mark Miles, Doug Boles of IMS, and Jay Frye of IndyCar joined together to say that their motivation for the race starts with stewardship.

“For Doug, Jay and myself and everybody on our team, we feel a great sense of responsibility for the nurturing and the ongoing growth of the Indy 500,” Miles said.

A big part of the Indy 500 is the traditions that go along with it every year.

And a proper tribute to those, Boles said, will happen.

“I often say that the most magical moment, at least for me and I know for thousands of our fans, are those 30 minutes that lead up to the green flag at the Indianapolis 500 every year,” Boles said.

Although the marching bands won’t be there this year, the drivers plan to have some fun with their introductions.

Expect to hear the national anthem, (Back Home Again in) Indiana, and something special this year – the flyover of the Air Force Thunderbirds.

“This unique opportunity to have them really has only come about because of August. And they have a little bit of a twist up their sleeve,” said Boles.

For Frye, he’s proud of the drivers and the teams who he says have been resilient.

“We’re very proud of the 33 that we have, the second fastest field in Indianapolis 500 history, which in the 104 years, that’s saying a lot,” he said.

As for next year, Boles said that they learned a lot during this pandemic and those safety measures could impact the customer experience.

“We’re going to look forward to welcoming fans back in 2021,” he said.

Track leaders do expect some fans to celebrate Sunday outside the track. In that case, they’re asking everyone to mask up and keep socially distant.

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