IndyCar Paddock Nearing Herd Immunity in Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic

As the world races toward herd immunity in the fight against COVID-19 and the race to get life—and sports—back to normal, the NTT IndyCar Series appears to be on the right track.

Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said that the IndyCar paddock is closing in on 90 percent of IndyCar teams and personnel are now vaccinated. Miles expects that number to go up in time for the Indianapolis 500 in May.

“We’ve worked really hard on it, and we couldn’t be happier with the way the teams have responded,” Miles said in a video conference with the media on Wednesday. “At this point I would say we’re somewhere around 90 percent of the team personnel will be vaccinated, and I think that’s going to continue to move up.”

Miles is happy that many of the teams took advantage of vaccination opportunities made available at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway following last week’s open test session that attracted 31 drivers.

“When I say we’ve worked hard on it, we’ve provided an opportunity for everybody that was here in Indianapolis just after the test concluded last Friday to be vaccinated, to get their first dose,” Miles said. “We’re going to do that again in Texas after the race, the second race. And then there’s yet another opportunity in Indianapolis the first week in May.

That could make for less mandatory testing during the month of May.

“I expect it to be very close to 100 percent by the time we get here to race, and we’ll see where that number is,” Miles said. “We’re thinking about whether or not anybody who isn’t tested will need to be. Sorry, anybody who’s not vaccinated would need to be tested regularly. So we’ll take all the right precautions to make the paddock as buttoned up as possible.

IMS president Jay Frye praised the teams for taking one, or in many cases two, for the team.

“The good news is the teams were taking it very seriously even before that, so we were running in the high 60 percent before that,” Frye said. “And now like Mark said, we’re over 90 percent as a group. It’s been, again, a great paddock-wide effort.”

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens for the Month of May on May 10 with practice for the GMR Grand Prix on the road coarse. That race is May 10.

Practice for the Indianapolis 500 starts on May 18. The 105th Indianapolis 500 in May 30.

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