NASCAR's Incredibly-Named Hand Sanitizer 400 Will Be Closed to the Public, Because COVID-19

This has got to be the most 2020 headline yet.

AP Images/Darron Cummings

Spending Independence Day at a sporting event with a hot dog in your hand and fireworks lighting up your retinas is a quintessentially American experience. Yet with confirmed cases continuing to climb in the coronavirus capitol of the world, the United States, our circumstances make such a big July 4 bash uniquely unpatriotic. For that reason, Indianapolis Motor Speedway declared Thursday that its IndyCar and NASCAR races scheduled for that weekend will be held with closed doors—no spectators allowed.

IMS's Independence Day weekend schedule consists of three races held between Saturday the 4th and Sunday the 5th. IndyCar's GMR Grand Prix and the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pennzoil 150 will run on the circuit's road course configuration on Saturday, and on Sunday, the Big Machine Vodka Hand Sanitizer-sponsored Brickyard 400 will follow on the oval. IMS originally hoped to reopen its doors to fans for these events, but the track's residence county of Marion has lagged behind the rest of Indiana with regards to reopen-readiness.

"After extensive consultation with local and state health officials, we have made the difficult decision to run these events without fans in the stands due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," stated the speedway in a release issued Thursday. "As a result of this decision, we have also canceled the Driven2SaveLives BC39 USAC Midget race and the FGL Fest concert."

"While the State of Indiana plans to enter Stage 5 of its 'Back on Track Indiana' plan on July 4, opening sporting events to fans with social distancing, Marion County—home to IMS—moved to Stage 3 ten days after the rest of the state, and we cannot be confident that it will be ready to move to Stage 5 by the holiday weekend. This approach follows national trends for larger communities, and we must follow those guidelines and the leadership and judgement of our city and state officials during this challenging time," the release concluded.

IMS has promised ticket-holders for these races either tickets to equivalent events in 2021 or credit with the facility. Whether IMS's delayed reopening has implications for the rain-checked 2020 Indianapolis 500 is not yet clear, and likely won't become so for several more weeks. Only as the rescheduled race's date of August 23 draws near will we know whether the show will go on.

Got a tip? Send us a note: tips@thedrive.com