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Indianapolis 500 Brings in 325,000 Fans, Record Purse

  • The Indianapolis 500 had its second-best attendance in 20 years.
  • It was the first time since 2019 that the event was fully open to fans.
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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Indianapolis 500 came roaring back on Sunday, welcoming 325,000 fans.

The race was the first since the start of the pandemic in which the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was open to fans without any restrictions.

While it remains uncertain whether the rising popularity of Formula 1 in the U.S. will hurt or lift U.S.-based racing series such as IndyCar, the showing demonstrated resilience for the flagship event.

  • The crowd was the second-largest in 20 years, behind only the 100th running of the race in 2016.
  • The venue has 250,000 permanent seats and can accommodate around 350,000.
  • The Indy 500 allowed 135,000 fans last year, and none in 2020.

The event was blacked out on local television broadcasts in an effort to boost ticket sales, but all fans were able to watch on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock. NBC attempted to comply with the blackout but was unable to devise a technological solution to exclude a geographical area that small.

Record Prize

Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, who came to Indy from F1, took home $3.1 million, a record top prize for the event. Second place Pato O’Ward earned $1 million, which was among the highest totals for a runner-up.

Average driver winnings reached $485,000.

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