INDIANAPOLIS — For the first time in nearly two years, race fans returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday for the GMR Grand Prix.
The race was somewhat like a test run for the Indianapolis 500. About 25,000 fans attended Saturday’s race compared to the 135,000 fans expected on May 30th.
To keep everyone safe, the track added extra safety protocols, including spacing between fans in the stands and a mandatory mask policy that is enforced by mask ambassadors. The mask policy follows county health orders.
Cleaning and sanitation processes are also in place with hand sanitizer stations available. All concession stands and merchandise locations are cashless this year.
“I feel very safe. Everyone has been responsible and that’s the biggest thing,” said Cody Zimmer.
Many race fans were just happy to be back.
“It’s phenomenal, it’s phenomenal to be back,” said John Cavallaro. “I missed the sound, definitely the sound.”
Other fans were glad to keep family traditions going.
“You know we missed it last year and we woke up this morning and we were like 'should we go?' I am so glad we did because it just feels so great to be back out here,” Matt Bailey said.
Temperature checks were not taken at the gates, but vaccine clinics were offered at first aid stations throughout the track—something that is expected to continue throughout the month of May.
The clinics are offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. You also get a t-shirt and a box of Girl Scout cookies.
“I enjoyed the race and took advantage of getting the shot at the same time,” said Jeremey Nerius.
IMS is calling Saturday’s race a success and now waving the green flag for the Indy 500 to start in two weeks.