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IMS Writers’ Roundtable, Vol. 45: Thankful

Today’s question: On this Thanksgiving Week in America, for what are you most thankful in the 2021 racing season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

Curt Cavin: I’m thankful for Roger Penske’s continued stewardship of IMS and INDYCAR and the effort he genuinely puts in. It would have been easy for him to put his stamp on his first year of ownership in 2020 and then slow down, but he hasn’t. He’s at the office here regularly, arriving from his Detroit home before many of us locals and leaving after dark, and he continues to challenge the staff to find new ways to make the guest experience better. Roger is 84 going on 64, and his enthusiasm is contagious.

Zach Horrall: This year, I’m thankful for the role the Indianapolis Motor Speedway played in helping our society return to some semblance of normalcy with the mass vaccination clinic. More than 100,000 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine on IMS property, and thousands of COVID-19 tests have been administered. I’m also thankful for the results of that role, which led to IMS having 40 percent of capacity at the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. That race on Memorial Day weekend was one of the most important in this facility’s history. It was about more than racing with fans in attendance. It was about the health and safety of every one of us. It served as a blueprint to everyone around the world on how to safely hold large events amid a pandemic, and it gave everyone some hope that we will eventually get through this. It’s proven to be a long road, but I truly believe that without the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Penske Entertainment, the road would be even longer and even bumpier.

Paul Kelly: While staging the best motor races in the world is the main goal of everyone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I’m beyond thankful for the most important mission the Speedway has played in 2021 – serving as a COVID-19 mass vaccination site for more than 100,000 Hoosiers. IMS, in conjunction with local, state and Federal officials, set an impressive, efficient template for using sporting facilities and other large venues as vaccination sites this spring, and clinics continued at the Racing Capital of the World throughout the summer and fall. I’m also beyond grateful I got a chance to spend 10 minutes chatting, smiling, laughing and swearing with the incomparable Robin Miller during the Brickyard Weekend, his final visit to his most beloved track before passing away less than two weeks later.

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