Iowa Speedway met the challenge this weekend, taking proactive measures to allow fans to attend the Indycar doubleheader this past weekend. The crowd limits for each race were appropriate, as were the limited hours that the track was open to spectators.
Each day was limited to 5, 000 fans. They may have been able to handle another ,00-1,500 or so, but in these uncertain times it is always better to err on the low side. As cars entered the grounds, three lanes were available for temperature checks of all fans. I didn’t see anyone not allowed to enter the the track. A secondary screening station stood ready to work with anyone whose temperature was too high.
Fans were required to wear a face mask to enter the grandstand area. Masks and hand sanitizer were available at the screning stations and at the gate. I didn’t notice much resistance, but many masks came off after fans passed through the entrance.
Concessions were limited to three stands plus just a couple of drink stations. Food vendors at Iowa have steadily declined over the years. it is the only thing I think the track needs to improve overall. Considering the pandemic, I was okay with the concession situation this year.
Grandstand seats were assigned with plenty of space between groups. In addition to the sadly now standard signs about COVID -19 safety, placards asked fans to sit only in their assigned seats. It appeared most fans did. The spacing in the stands you saw on television was by design. It looked as if the speedway left two rows vacant between seats.
Iowa Speedway staff ensured social distance in the general admission areas on the hills in turns 1 and 4. Eight foot circles about seven feet apart marked where fans could sit. I sat in turn 1 for Race 2. All the fans in the are respected the boundaries.
Turn 4 didn’t look to have as many fans as turn 1. I liked the view, and may look to sit there again next year. It seems to be a more unobstructed look at the track.
In the men’s restroom every other urinal was taped over. Every other sink was also closed for use. I’m wondering how the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will handle this situation with the new improved troughs. I assume the sink situation was the same in the women’s restroom. Even in the interest of journalism I was not allowed to enter.
One thing I didn’t notice were hand washing or sanitizing stations, but given the size of the crowd and the facility going into a restroom to wash your hands was not difficult to do.
Overall, it was a great job by Iowa Speedway. I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe at any time. The two tracks I have been to the last two weekends each ahndled fan safety in ways unique to their facility. The larger the track and the bigger the crowd, the more variable there are to consider. I know IMS was watching and learning. There are some good ideas from from both Iowa and Road America they should consider.
I’ll be back later this week to talk about my visit to the National Sprint car Hall of Fame.