IndyCar News: IndyCar confirms season will start at Texas without fans

The 2020 IndyCar Series season will begin on 6 June with the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, which will be held behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic

IndyCar News: IndyCar confirms season will start at Texas without fans

The 2020 IndyCar Series season has been on hold since the coronavirus outbreak which has forced a complete shake-up of its original calendar.

As well as no fans being allowed, the COVID-19 restrictions 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.

The 24th consecutive year of Indycars racing at TMS will involve a two-hour practice from 1.30-3.30pm, qualifying at 5.00pm, and the race start at 8.45pm (all Eastern Standard Time).

"We're excited and ready to kick off the NTT IndyCar Series season at Texas Motor Speedway," Jay Frye, IndyCar president, 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."

Eddie Gossage, president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway, added: "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.

"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.

In a joint statement from Gossage and Texas governor Greg Abbott, public health "remains our top priority" with strict protocals to follow at all times.

"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," the statement read.

"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 favourite live sports again, and this race serves as an example of how we can responsibly hold sporting events while prioritising 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."

The remainder of the updated, 15-race IndyCar calendar for 2020, announced on 6 April, remains on schedule for competition.

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Author David Malsher
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