LONG POND, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Pocono Raceway is gearing up for the return of the NTT IndyCar Series with this weekend’s ABC Supply 500.
Track President Ben May says he and his staff are excited to play host to America’s premier open wheel series.
“We’re fired-up,” exclaimed May. “Really excited to have the IndyCars in town. The sense of speed is amazing. They’re fast, they’re brave, it’s a really cool event.”
Pocono is the 2.5-mile three-turn track nestled in the Pocono Mountains known as the “Tricky Triangle”. The track was designed by two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Roger Ward and each turn is modeled after three historic IndyCar venues.
“This place was built for IndyCars,” said May. “It’s fast, it’s flat, it’s really similar to Indianapolis in that regard. 220-some miles-per-hour, they look light fighter jets out there. It’s amazing.”
The three unique turns make Pocono Raceway distinctly different from Tri-Ovals like Daytona and others. Turn one and it’s 14-degrees of banking is modeled after Trenton Speedway. Turn two and it’s 9-degrees of banking, also known as the “Tunnel Turn”, is modeled after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Turn three and it’s 6-degrees of banking is modeled after the Milwaukee Mile.
“The fact that it was built for IndyCars really lends itself to being some of the best racing we have here at the ‘Tricky Triangle’ each year,” said May.
The track played host to IndyCars (under the USAC and CART Sanctioning bodies) from 1971 to 1989 and returned in 2013 and has played host to IndyCar ever since.
The track offers a number of budget-friendly options for fans to take in America’s premier open-wheel series.
“Really excited about this weekend,” said May. “Kids 12-and-under are free, a family 4-pack of tickets at $125 so a great value, good entertainment. We have a free carnival, free parking, coolers are welcome, so we feel good about what we are doing, and we’re excited to have the stars of IndyCar here.”
In addition to the value the track is offering in regard to tickets, May says racing offers something amazing for everyone that other sports do not.
“When you look at racing and motorsports compared to other sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, the access we offer to the cars and the drivers is unparalleled,” said May. “If you have a paddock pass this weekend you can get down into the garage area and you can get right next to the cars, see them working on the cars the whole weekend and on race day. The access to motorsports is fascinating. For those who haven’t been to a race live, in-person it’s one of the coolest things you will ever do. It’s something you take away, you leave going ‘wow that’s amazing. I can’t believe I was right next to a car before it was going 225 miles-an-hour’, that’s some really cool stuff.”
Fans with the Paddock Pass will quickly find out that race car drivers and crews are different from other athletes when it comes to approachability.
“That’s one of the things that separates motorsports whether it’s NASCAR, IndyCar, Moto GP, or whatever,” said May. “The fans understand that their support of the driver, the sponsor, the products and services the sponsors offer, is what keeps their driver on the track so it’s a little different from a LeBron or a Michael Jordan.”
The track is extremely fan and family-friendly and includes the nearly 6,000-square foot Pocono Mountains Inclusive Playground, which is recognized as a national demonstration site, making it one of the top 100 inclusive playgrounds in the Country!
The Paddock Pass is not the only way Kids and adults can get up-close and personal with the Teams, Crews and Drivers of the NTT IndyCar Series.
“One of the coolest things that IndyCar does as a series is where they have a full-series, full-driver autograph session in the fan zone on race day,” said May. “That’s something that we hope people take advantage of, arrive early and get to see the guys before they hop in the cars a couple of hours later.”
Campers and people who own recreational vehicle can also enjoy the weekend by staying at the track. Pocono’s huge infield is perfect for RV’s and campers.
“Weather is looking solid for this weekend,” said May. “Grab the tent, grab the camper, one last hurrah before the kids go back to school before Labor Day. As it goes people don’t use their vacation days in this country so exercise a few of those days and come check out the ‘Tricky Triangle’. Brittany in our ticket office does an amazing job in explaining the options for camping by calling 1-800-RACEWAY or www.poconoraceway.com.”
A full day of track activity for the IndyCar Series starts on Saturday with a first practice session from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Qualifications follow from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. with a Final practice session from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday’s schedule includes the NTT IndyCar Series Autograph Session in the Firestone Fan Village from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Driver introductions at 2:00 p.m. and The ABC Supply 500 (200 laps) from 2:45 p.m. to approximately 5:45 p.m.
INDYCAR Community Reacts To No Fans At Indy 500
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The INDYCAR community is reacting to the news that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has decided to run the Indy 500 on August 23 without fans in attendance. The decision is a reversal of a plan set forth a few weeks ago where the event would be run in front of 25-percent of the capacity of the Speedway.
Speedway President J. Douglas Boles, who has been a guest on The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast, is appreciative of his team and the fans:
Heartbroken for my fellow fans. Proud of the @IMS team that has worked thousands of hours to make the race happen with spectators. Even through end of yesterday we were working on setting up to open the gates. Thankful for Roger’s passion, commitment & leadership in these times. https://t.co/I7TadsP2sd
— J. Douglas Boles (@jdouglas4) August 4, 2020
Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal took to social media to make some great points:
Today’s news brought lots of mixed emotions, but we’ve got to do what is necessary for our fans & community’s health & safety now in order to keep this sport & race alive for generations to come. It won’t be the same without you all on 8/23, but we’ll be back strong in 2021.(2/2) pic.twitter.com/hL2ITFB27W
— Graham Rahal (@GrahamRahal) August 4, 2020
Spencer Pigot who drives for Steelers minority owner Rob Citrone and Robbie Buhl’s team Citrone Buhl Autosport with RLL also took to Twitter to express his feelings:
It's going to look and feel a lot different this year but it's still the Indy 500 and we will be giving it our all to entertain the fans watching from home! Looking forward to seeing you all back at the track next year. #Indy500 https://t.co/MPy4X1RsSK
— Spencer Pigot (@SpencerPigot) August 4, 2020
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson also weighed in:
Regarding the #Indy500 news, it’s a shame we cannot race in front of all you amazing fans! But I trust and believe @IndyCar have made the right call, safety always comes first. We will do everything to make it a great show for you all watching on the TVs back home #INDYCAR #ME8
— Marcus Ericsson (@Ericsson_Marcus) August 4, 2020
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Real and Alexander Rossi, two former 500 winners had this to say:
This is disappointing to say the least. Our sport, especially the Indy 500, is based on our fans. No doubt these are unprecedented times. With that said, Roger Penske & his team @IndyCar are simply doing what is necessary for the well being of our fans. https://t.co/o55xeCvVqy
— Ryan Hunter-Reay (@RyanHunterReay) August 4, 2020
— Alexander Rossi (@AlexanderRossi) August 4, 2020
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who’s boss owns the Speedway has a great idea:
Can’t imagine how tough this decision must have been. It won’t be the same without everyone at @IMS , but it’s still the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. Tell your friends to tune in, post on social & tell the world to tune in. Let’s make this the most watched race ever. #Indy500 pic.twitter.com/a0ZadLYyuP
— Josef Newgarden (@josefnewgarden) August 4, 2020
Not the news we all wanted to hear and can’t imagine how tough it was to make. Gutted for every single fan. Now, let’s all work together and get EVERYONE tuned into this race on August 23rd! #Indy500 pic.twitter.com/kChEZMMO82
— Jack Harvey (@jack_harvey42) August 4, 2020
Super bummed to hear we won’t be seeing all of the amazing fans in these seats this year. Hoping to make you all proud on the big screen on Aug. 23rd at the greatest spectacle in racing. Let’s make this one to remember. #WIXIndy #INDYCAR @DRRIndyCar @WIXFilters @JusticeBrosInc pic.twitter.com/6ywkkz85Ag
— Sage Karam (@SageKaram) August 4, 2020
— Ed Carpenter (@edcarpenter20) August 4, 2020
Stay tuned to Pittsburgh Racing Now for updated comments from the INDYCAR Community
No Fans At Indianapolis 500 in 2020
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is cancelling plans to have fans at the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race.
“It is with great regret that we announce the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Aug. 23 without fans. This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership” the Speedway said in a statement.
“As dedicated as we were to running the race this year with 25 percent attendance at our large outdoor facility, even with meaningful and careful precautions implemented by the city and state, the COVID-19 trends in Marion County and Indiana have worsened. Since our June 26 announcement, the number of cases in Marion County has tripled while the positivity rate has doubled. We said from the beginning of the pandemic we would put the health and safety of our community first, and while hosting spectators at a limited capacity with our robust plan in place was appropriate in late June, it is not the right path forward based on the current environment.”
The Speedway is closing all on-track activity to the general public, including practice and qualifications. Ticket holders will be credited for the 2021 Indianapolis 500 and will retain their seniority and their originally assigned seats.
News from #IMS:
It is with great regret that we announce the Indianapolis 500 will take place on August 23 without fans. This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership.
— Indianapolis Motor Speedway (@IMS) August 4, 2020
The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast – Episode 15 – Aaron Reutzel, Matthew Dillner, Chip Ganassi and more!
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast features the 2-time and defending Champion of the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 Aaron Reutzel. We also talk to Matthew Dillner of Dirty Mo Media about the new show he co-hosts with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chip Ganassi takes his own trip down memory lane and we hear from Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials about safety protocols in place at this year’s Indy 500.