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SEMA Show Off, No Spectators At Indy 500, NSRA Nats This Weekend

The COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated in the US after five months. Some venues and cities are not allowing events to take place. They are not up for potentially facing liability issues should a mass breakout occur. Well, one is: the National Street Rod Association and the state of Kentucky. The Nationals is a yearly gathering of hot rods and custom cars that sees upwards of 12,000 cars at the Louisville fairgrounds. Figuring two people per car and spectators in the hundreds of thousands, we’re looking at a giant COVID-19 petri dish. Expect some cool cars showing up at estate sales later this year. 

The 2020 SEMA Show in Las Vegas was officially canceled today. The yearly event is massive and spotlights the aftermarket industry like no other industry. You’ve seen our coverage and others on the interweb so you know. From SEMA’s site: “Due to COVID-19 and concerns that event facilities and services will be unavailable the SEMA Show will not be taking place in 2020. Visit semashow.com for additional information.”

The state of Nevada and convention center wouldn’t commit to being able to hold the event per the state’s guidelines. As the event attracts more than 161,000 individuals according to SEMA that’s a lot of masks and social distancing. But not enough in their estimation. No liability concerns for SEMA this year.

The weirdest news comes from the Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MAY 26: Josef Newgarden of USA, driver of the #2 Team Penske Chevrolet in action during the 103rd Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The weirdest news comes from the Indy 500 that was postponed from its traditional Memorial Day weekend to this month. While originally 50,000 would be allowed as spectators, that was dropped to 25,000. Now, it reports there will be no spectators allowed for the incredible event. What we don’t know is if the traditional festivities leading up to the race will still be held or not. 

The festivities leading up to the race are a staple of the Indy 500. They are a tradition of the race and considered integral. But without crowds will it still continue for television? It should. This will at least give some context and a sense of a natural beginning to the race for drivers and crews. It has to be as thrilling for them as it is for the spectators that normally number over 300,000. Part of participating is the buildup to the race. 

As with professional basketball and baseball it will be strange, but at least it is continuing. This was to be new owner Roger Penske’s first race and was expected to highlight a slew of upgrades and changes to spruce up the track. At least this gives the Penske folks another year to dial everything in.

Back to the NSRA Nationals in Louisville

Hot rod show | Getty

Back to the NSRA Nationals in Louisville. Here is their response to the COVID-19 concerns, “All of our exhibitors who are showing product there, every morning when they go in they’ll have their temperature taken as they come through the door,” NSRA marketing director Jim Rowlett says. “So we kind of minimize that situation. And we just ask folks to pay attention, distance where they can, and wear the mask. It’s pretty straight forward.” Yeah, it’s pretty straight forward, that’s why there have been no issues in Florida, California, etc. Not!

According to local Wave3 News the NSRA is expecting half of the normal 12,000 cars that attend. It seems amazing that this event is flying low and has not gotten any pushback from the health experts or media. The good news is that the show itself is outdoors and not in confined buildings. But the air-conditioned building with exhibits, food, and vendors, is a welcome respite for attendees. Especially during the rains that blow through at some point. 

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We wish all who decide to enter the event good luck and hope it comes off successfully.