COVID-19 pandemic forces rescheduling of the Indy 500

IndyCar has shuffled its 2020 calendar in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500—originally scheduled for May 24—will move to Sunday, Aug. 23. 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway originally moved the date to “Decoration Day” in 1911. The Greatest Spectacle in Racing has been held on what is now Memorial Day weekend ever since.

"The Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500," said IMS and IndyCar owner Roger Penske. "However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing. 

“We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I'm confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world's greatest race.”

The revised 4th of July weekend will now feature an IndyCar/NASCAR doubleheader with the GMR Grand Prix and Pennzoil 150 running consecutively on the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Saturday.

The GMR Grand Prix was originally scheduled for May 9. IndyCar has used the course for the last six seasons. Simon Pagenaud is the defending winner of the race. In January, NASCAR announced the Xfinity Series would make its debut on the road course prior to the Brickyard 400. Matt DiBenedetto tested at the track on Jan. 22.

"For very good reason, this historic pairing will be circled on the calendar of every motorsports fan," Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said of the July doubleheader. "We appreciate our friends at NASCAR for their flexibility and support in this matter and will work with them on a memorable, exciting weekend of racing action."

A two-day practice for the Indy 500 is scheduled for Aug. 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on Aug. 14. Indianapolis 500 time trials are scheduled for Aug. 15-16. NBC will cover qualifications. IMS will host pit stop practice on Aug. 20, along with Indy Lights practice and qualifying for the Indy Lights Freedom 100. 

The Indy Lights 100, Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and final Indy 500 practice will highlight Miller Lite Carb Day on Aug. 21. Legends Day presented by Firestone will feature the public drivers’ meeting and full-field autograph session. 
Tickets purchased in advance for any of the events will be honored for the rescheduled activities. All concerts previously scheduled at IMS have been canceled. Credits will be applied to any IMS event.

"Memorial Day weekend has always provided Indianapolis 500 fans an opportunity to honor the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our nation's freedom," Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. "This August, we'll also have a unique and powerful opportunity to honor the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and National Guard members serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. 

“We're grateful for the patience of our fans as we've navigated this situation, and we extend our thanks to NBC for its terrific partnership and diligent work to maximize broadcast coverage with this new schedule.” 

Due to the IMS changes, the IndyCar races at Mid-Ohio and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway have also been rescheduled. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will run on Aug. 9. The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 has been rescheduled for Aug. 30. IndyCar will kick off its season with the Detroit Grand Prix on May 30-31.


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