Roger Penske Hoping For Huge Indy 500 Crowd, But Isn't Holding Breath

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Indianapolis 500 was held in front of empty grandstands.

This year, while there will be fans, there is still no word on how many there will be or what precautions will be in place to keep them safe.

Right now, more than 170,000 tickets have already been sold for the May 30th race, according to Roger Penske, who now owns the Indy 500 property.

Penske says that he's looking for a big crowd for the race, hoping to see 250,000 fans in the stands. He even thinks that might be a realistic number.

“We’re not making any predictions at all because anything I would say today could be completely wrong,” Penske said.

“Our goal is to have 250,000. I mean, that’s what we want to have. It’s outside. We’ve got the biggest stadium in the world here, and it’s a matter of where we’re going to be with the CDC and the governor and the mayor, so I don’t have any number that I’d want to hang my hat on.”

Penske wants to do his part to help out fans and those in need. His speedway has hosted several vaccination events.

While he is hopeful those vaccinations will bring more fans in the stands at the Indy 500, there won't be any way of telling until the main event truly closes in.

“With the size of our facility and what we were able to accomplish just in three days, we think we can really help this whole area here — the city of Indianapolis and the surrounding counties," Penske said.

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Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."