SPEEDWAY, Ind. — This holiday weekend, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will make history, being the host of the very first IndyCar/NASCAR Doubleheader.
IMS President Doug Boles says the idea of bringing the two racing series together has been in discussion for a few years, and he takes great pride in being the track to host the first doubleheader. He also hopes to make this event a tradition at IMS.
“I’m hoping I can advocate with the team here, and with NASCAR, that this oughta happen annually,” Boles told JMV on 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis.
At the same time, Boles admits it will be weird celebrating the historic doubleheader without fans. There won’t be any fans in attendance this weekend when IndyCar races the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday and NASCAR runs the Brickyard 400 on Sunday.
However, fans will be allowed to attend the Indianapolis 500 on August 23. Last week, IMS announced they will cap attendance at 50% capacity, which Boles says was a tough decision.
“There is no way we’re going to make everybody happy in this,” Boles said. “I totally get it, and for the folks who are really mad at us, I’m really sorry. I’m trying to phone up and call some of those folks and talk it through it, but there was just no way to make a decision to make everyone happy.”
Boles says he’s been reaching out to ticket holders, and trying to find out how many fans are expecting to still attend and how many are planning to opt out of this year. With ticketing as the top priority, he says he and his team have not discussed the idea of lifting the local TV blackout.
Within hours after IMS announced their plan for fans in August, the trending topic on social media came from fans wondering if the track would allow the race to air live. Normally, the Indy 500 is shown on tape delay in the Indianapolis TV market.
“Our focus has totally been on ticketing, so not to give you political non-answer, but, we just haven’t really addressed it any further than just to say ‘our policy has always been that we delay it into the evening,'” Boles said. “I guess the best thing to say is, uh, we’ll see what happens.”
Boles added that he “definitely” agrees that there needs to be an internal conversation about the the idea of lifting the blackout.