Why I feel the Indy 500 should still go on, with fans, despite local hospitals’ statement

Last week, last Wednesday to be exact, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway unveiled their detailed 88 page plan to how they would safely race next month’s 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network) and to do so with fans in the stands.

Now they’re all the sudden, over a week later mind you, getting heat over it from an unexpected yet unnecessary statement made by IU Health. Why wait a week to come out and say anything? Why even make that claim in the first place?

The higher ups of the medial and safety field gave the seal of approval to this plan and let’s be perfectly honest, those are the ones that I and most in general, should put stock in.

Now, lets dig deeper and have an uncomfortable conversation about this. It’s needed.

First off, I get why people are scared and concerned about the Indy 500 playing host to that many fans during a pandemic. I get it. I truly do. You have that right to feel that way and don’t let anyone tell you how YOU should feel.

But, you can’t tell others how THEY should feel either. IMS has a great plan in place that allows fans to make THEIR decision on whether to go or not. The track isn’t forcing anyone to go against their will. If you don’t feel comfortable about going next month, then guess what, don’t.

The track will be open and will do so with safety in mind for those that want to take their own risk to attend. There’s a max amount of people that can take it in and it’s up to the public to choose whether they want go or not.

How is that wrong?

Is this virus dangerous? Yes, of course. I’m not downplaying it. But, I also think that we shouldn’t just close the doors for something just because you want them to. The plan is real and it’s a good one. Don’t believe me? I have facts for you on that. Continue on and I’ll show you.

What I’m seeing now is, fans that are choosing not to go this year are doing their best now to rain on the parade of ones that are wanting to go. Again, I get it that you’re scared but to me, you sound maybe a little jealous people are going and you’re not. You’d rather everyone miss the show in person instead so you don’t have to sit and home and miss it yourself.

This IU Health comment is more your fuel to your fire, but you must have missed the 88 page report and the people that signed off on it last week. So let me remind you. I have the report and will happily share FACTS on it with you if you want.

Fair?

This is whole thing is everything wrong with the general population these days, because you’ll get mad and spew half facts back to fit your narrative. If you don’t get what you want, you trash others for it. That’s wrong. That’s bad. I know I’ll get people complaining about this post, but to be honest, I’m not going to read the ones with backlash because your backlash would be an opinion that is just that, your opinion. I don’t care about the keyboard warriors, the ones that if you say something they disagree with, they’ll attack because they feel like their opinion is the only one that matters even if their opinion is wrong. I don’t operate in your world and not going to come into it.

So, attack away if that makes you feel better. But, if you want to see why I’m comfortable and content with IMS’ plan and why I feel like even with IU Health’s statement that the Indy 500 will go off on Aug. 23 with 25-percent capacity with no changes, continue reading.

First off, instead of a full house, or even half capacity like they said they would on June 26, they’ll do so with 25-percent capacity. That equates out to roughly 85-90k that would be there on Aug. 23.

While that sounds like a lot during a global pandemic, when you think of how massive this facility is, it’s not as much as you’d think.

IMS is a campus of 935 acres. 244 of that includes the infield alone. You can fit Vatican City, Churchill Downs, Wimbledon (the entire facility), the Roman Coliseum, Yankee Stadium and the Rose Bowl all snuggled up inside of those 244 acres inside.

So, putting 85-90k, which lets face it, only a portion of that will be coming in next month, you can safely distance everyone throughout the grounds rather easily.

The Bristol Motor Speedway has a capacity of around 162k and has a fraction of the availability in size comparison for acreage to IMS, but they held 30k a few weeks ago for the All-Star race. As we sit here today more than two weeks later, no outbreaks from that event took place.

I know people may trash that but let me hit you with some facts.

I was there. I took my family. I felt safe. I felt safer there than I would going to Kroger or Target, honestly. I was around far less people from where we parked, to when we walked in, through the gates, to the seats and a trip to the concession stand than I encounter on a normal shopping trip for essentials. Fact. You can’t dispute that. 30k may have been there, I suspect 20-25k from reports, but I personally didn’t encounter that amount of people. Here’s why.

Bristol had a good plan. Everyone had two designated times that they could enter the gates. They had specific gates they had to enter based off the grandstands that they were sitting in and even then, they had you enter by groupings of rows. An example, Rows 1-15 entered at a different time than rows 16-30.

That’s why you barely saw many people. You were in your own controlled bubble and had certain places you could or couldn’t go so you didn’t come in contact with anyone else.

IMS is a vastly larger facility and can do a similar plan. Heck, that 88 page plan that they had was applauded and deemed safe.

Don’t believe me? Here’s more facts.

The Global Medical Response signed off on it. Ed Racht, the CMO of the group, his signature is on the plan. They had a full page of targeted event medical strategies that IMS implemented.

The plan took over four months to develop. It was developed by Indy officials and national health experts, including Dr. Racht, chief medical officer of Global Medical Response. I would fail you if I didn’t mention that the Global Medical Response is the largest emergency medical services provider in the nation.

Let me say that again just in case you have a swayed made up opinion on this situation. “The Global Medical Response is the largest emergency medical services provider in the nation.”

It has also been approved by the Marion County Department of Public Health.

“The IMS plan has been developed in consultation with the Marion County Public Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health, and reflects the current best practices and mitigating steps outdoor venues should have in place to host public events,” Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine said. “It meets or exceeds all local guidelines and is approved subject to continued review. I appreciate the serious and collaborative approach IMS has displayed throughout this process.”

I bet that was painful to read for you haters. So, let me have you read a snippet of that again.

“It meets or exceeds all local guidelines and is approved subject to continued review. I appreciate the serious and collaborative approach IMS has displayed throughout this process.”

Ouch. That’s from the Marion County, the county that IMS resides, Public Health Department Director. I think her opinion means more than IU Health’s general statement. I think Dr. Racht’s opinion matters more too. If you don’t believe them, how about another high ranking official.

“The IMS plan is detailed and extensive and takes all the right steps to ensure the best measures and precautions are in place,” Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said. “Speedway officials have been transparent and communicative throughout this process, and we appreciate the opportunities we’ve had to provide input.”

Hmm, that’s the STATE HEALTH COMMISSIONER. “The IMS plan is detailed and extensive and takes all the right steps to ensure the best measures and precautions are in place.”

So, why on earth would anyone think that just because IU Health came out and said something, would IMS/INDYCAR get shafted and no be allowed to host fans now?

Yes, the process is always going to keep being reevaluated, but the cases weren’t deemed out of control enough last week to get them the green light to continue on with the plan and they haven’t rose any higher this week. So why would anything change?

Unless cases rise to higher depths in both people getting the virus and unfortunately dying from it, why would this plan go away just because of the opinion of a hospital. The opinion of the higher ranking officials are what matters and they think this plan was “detailed” “extensive” and “meets or exceeds all local guidelines and is approved.”

So, I’ll say this again, if you don’t feel comfortable going to the Indy 500, then don’t go. That’s your choice. But, for those that do feel comfortable, don’t trash on them either. We need more kindness in this world and need to rally together. If that means wearing masks, then why fight? Why battle? If you choose to go, take precautionary measures. If you’re sick, stay home. Follow the guidelines that IMS set forth. Don’t be a knucklehead and roam the grounds. Go to your designated areas, near your designated seats, wear your mask, be courteous and gracious and have a good time. This isn’t a time for division. If you’re reading this, you more than likely care about the NTT IndyCar Series and the health of the Indianapolis 500/Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Why cause a rift and division among us. Lets rally together and trust the process and leaders in charge. After all, we trusted them prior to now, why change?

One comment

  1. Great article, Eric. I have seen on facebook unhappy with their assigned seats wondering if they can sit with their friends anyway. One comment, which disgusted me,” I wonder how much they will police this crap.” That’s a person who needs to turn in his tickets and stay home. I think the biggest issue is enforcement and the number of people coming to town from hotspots. The track itself is safe.

    Like

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