The Indianapolis 500 has been postponed to August due to the coronavirus pandemic and will not be used on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.
Instead, the race will take place on August 23, three months later than planned on May 24.
“May is my favorite time of year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we had to redesign the Indianapolis 500,” said motorsport giant Roger Penske, who completed his purchase of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Earlier this year.
“However, the health and safety of our event attendees and spectators is a top priority, and we believe postponing the event is the responsible decision given the conditions and restrictions we face,” he said. “We will continue to focus on improving the customer experience in the coming months and I am confident that we will greet fans with a remodeled facility and global spectacle when we host the world’s greatest race.”
The Indianapolis 500 began in 1911 but did not run in 1917, 1918, and from 1941 to 1945 because of the First and Second World Wars. Tony Hulman bought the neglected speedway after the Second War and the Indy 500 returned over Memorial Day weekend in 1946.
It’s been slated for this weekend each year since then, a familiar fixture for countless millions of fans over the years. Although the weather has occasionally disrupted the prestigious race, it had never been completely rescheduled until now.
“In times like these, it’s all about leadership and communication. We both have IndyCar and NASCAR, ”said Chip Ganassi, who uses cars in both series. NASCAR has not changed its plan to resume racing on May 9th.
Postponing the Indy 500 was an inevitable decision, but it had to be difficult for Penske, who has already poured millions into capital improvements to prepare the historic speedway for its first 500 under new ownership.
“Memorial Day weekend was always an opportunity for Indianapolis 500 fans to honor the men and women who fought and sacrificed for our nation’s freedom,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “This August we also have a unique and powerful opportunity to recognize the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and members of the National Guard who are on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.”
Miles also thanked NBC, which had only broadcast the ABC festival festival last year. NBC is already fighting after the Tokyo Olympics are postponed to 2021 this week. The games were scheduled to open on July 24th and last almost three weeks.
Penske had been eagerly anticipating the start of the IndyCar season on March 15, but had to suspend the series 48 hours before the scheduled start in St. Petersburg, Florida when the coronavirus was declared a pandemic.
Initially, four races were canceled and IndyCar announced that it will resume racing on the Indy road on May 9th. The inaugural race is now listed as May 30th in Detroit, but the schedule is in flux.
The Indy Road Race will now be held on July 4th, the day before the NASCAR races at the Brickyard, in an unprecedented double header between series. St. Pete is now listed at the end of the IndyCar schedule with no date given. It’s not clear if this means the season finale or if it could get jammed into an ever-changing schedule elsewhere.
Races at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, the Circuit of the Americas in Texas and Long Beach will not be postponed. IndyCar rescheduled race dates in August a week earlier for Mid-Ohio and a week later for Gateway outside of St. Louis, while Portland was rescheduled from Labor Day to a week later.
For the 500, the new schedule begins with training from August 12th to 13th, followed by “Fast Friday” on August 14th and qualifying on the weekend from August 15th to 16th. The following week is dark through August 20th, with the final Indianapolis 500 workout on Friday August 21st as part of Carb Day.
“I’ll tell you that, no matter what day, month, or time you ride the Indy 500, it’s the biggest race on planet earth, we’ll only have it in August this time, and it still will.” be great, be great, “said Bobby Unser, Indy 500 winner in 1968, 1975, and 1981.
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