IndyCar to race without fans in St. Petersburg

3/12/2020 5:46:36 PM EST

IndyCar's season-opening race will take place without spectators on Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Practices, driver autograph sessions and other weekend events surrounding the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg were canceled.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Thursday that all large-scale mass gatherings were being eliminated to protect public health and safety during the coronavirus outbreak.

The three-day weekend typically draws more than 130,000 fans. Instead, only essential personnel will be allowed inside the fencing that surrounds the course that winds through the downtown streets.

Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment, which owns IndyCar, said rescheduling the race would have been "very difficult," per ESPN.

"No one knows what the next several weeks or months will look like," Miles said. "They've built the track. It's tough to build it twice."

--Field Level Media

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