IndyCar confirms 2020 season will start at Texas without fans
The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season will begin Saturday, June 6 with the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway but it will be held behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As well as no fans being allowed, the coronavirus effect will also see the race condensed into one day, and the race shortened to 200 laps of the 1.5-mile oval near Fort Worth, TX.
This, the 24th consecutive year of Indy cars racing at TMS, will involve (all times Eastern) a two-hour practice from 1.30-3.30pm, qualifying at 5.00pm, and the race start at 8.45pm ET – 7.45pm local (Central) time
Broadcast coverage will be provided by NBC Sports via NBCSN.
"We're excited and ready to kick off the NTT IndyCar Series season at Texas Motor Speedway," IndyCar president Jay Frye said. "We've worked closely with Eddie Gossage, the entire TMS team and public health officials on a plan of action that will ensure the safety of our event participants alongside an exciting return to competition for our drivers, teams and viewers tuning in from around the world."
"America needs live sports and they are not going to believe what they see when the Genesys 300 storms into their living rooms on TV from Texas," said Eddie Gossage, president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway.
"One of the world's greatest sporting events, the Indy 500, has been postponed until August by coronavirus, so all of that pent-up energy, anticipation, frustrations and anxiety will be pounding through the drivers' nervous systems. Typically, the Genesys 300 results in a 220-mph photo finish."
In order to help protect participants as well as officials within IndyCar and TMS, there will be strict access guidelines limiting the number of personnel on site, a health screening system administered to all participants, PPE equipment provided to everyone entering the facility, along with guidelines on usage, social distancing protocols in place and carefully maintained and a revised competition layout to increase distancing.
Gossage and Texas governor Greg Abbott released a joint statement which reads:
"Racing is part of Texas culture and we are thrilled for the opportunity to bring back this tremendous experience to the people of Texas and to all Americans. Public health remains our top priority and the protocols for this race have been developed with the guidance of public health officials. The American people are eager to watch their favorite live sports again, and this race serves as an example of how we can responsibly hold sporting events while prioritizing the health of the participants and the public.
"While we know that many Texans are ready to attend races in person, this plan provides a solution that enables Americans to enjoy this tradition from the comfort and safety of their homes as our nation responds to COVID-19. We are thankful for the partnership with IndyCar and proud that Texas is at the forefront of opening these cultural and entertainment experiences to all Americans."
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