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Thank You, Fans, on Unique Race Day

Dear Fellow Indianapolis 500 Fan:


As I sit in my office on the closed Indianapolis Motor Speedway campus, staring out the window at the back of the E grandstands today, I can’t help but wish we were all gathering here – 300,000+ strong – to celebrate the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. And while many of you are stopping by the gates outside IMS for a photo or a few quick moments of reflection because being here, at 16th and Georgetown, is what we do on Memorial Day Sunday, I am buoyed by the spirit, resiliency and flexibility of our fans and the overwhelming encouragement we have received related to getting the Indianapolis 500 completed in 2020.


Collectively, as “500” fans we look forward to the Month of May all year. All of us that work at IMS are the same. The late nights and careful planning, and the traditional events like the Borg-Warner Trophy Unveil and ‘100 Days Out Party,’ build toward one thing: the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. I always say the upcoming Indy 500 is the most important race ever until the checkered flag falls, and then the most important race is the very next “500.” On Aug. 23, that race is scheduled to take place! 


So, for reasons both personal and professional, not running the race in May has been a very different feeling. This is the first time since the World War II era that we won’t take the green flag in May, a fact that underscores the challenging and unusual nature of our times. And right now there are bigger issues and more difficult hurdles to address this May than the normal pressures of organizing the world’s largest single-day sporting event.


The racing has been dramatic and compelling for over a century, but what truly makes the Indianapolis 500 special is that it’s much more than a race. It is a gathering of people from all over the world who converge at this Indiana intersection for many reasons.


We remember and thank those who have sacrificed for our freedoms, we make memories with family and friends and recount races past and tell the stories of times at the track with friends and family no longer with us; we sing a song – even if we can’t carry a tune – that means we are Back Home Again and only moments from the four words that set in motion a 500-mile journey that ends with a drink of milk, a kiss on the bricks and a face on a trophy of silver. And each one of those moments will add to the memories that will bring us back year after year.


Yes, we’ve always said that May is more than a race, and this year it’s a chance to come together and showcase our belief in each other and our community. That spirit is clearly unchanged. It’s here in May and it will be here in August, when we all return for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”


For our racing community, the community spirit and pride have been powerful inspirations as we work to get back on track. Today at 2 p.m. (ET), a special broadcast will air on NBC providing an inside look at last year’s epic battle between Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi. The program also includes special tributes to our military heroes and front-line workers who continue to inspire all of us with their selfless service and sacrifice. We’re grateful to NBC Sports for this opportunity to showcase our venue on such a global stage, and I hope everyone will tune in and enjoy a taste of what we normally expect on Memorial Day Sunday. 

Along with everyone at IMS, today we are missing our favorite part of Race Day: Seeing everyone walk through our gates and knowing we’re lucky to have the best and most devoted fans in the world. I wish everyone a reflective and peaceful Memorial Day weekend and look forward to seeing all of you at IMS soon. 

See you trackside, 

J. Douglas Boles 
President, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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