The Indianapolis 500 has been postponed from May 24 to August 23 due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. The Indianapolis Grand Prix, which normally runs prior to the 500, is now set for July 4, setting up the first-ever IndyCar/NASCAR double-header.
It marks the first time in 103 editions of the 500-mile event where the world’s largest single-day sporting event has been intentionally moved prior to its original race date.
“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,” Roger Penske said.
“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.”
“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.”
On-track action in August will begin at IMS with practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on Aug. 14 and Indianapolis 500 Qualifications on Saturday and Sunday Aug. 15-16. Each day of qualifications will be televised on NBC, providing more network coverage of qualifications for fans than in 2019. A full broadcast schedule will be released soon.
The following week’s schedule will begin with hot pit-stop practice sessions on Thursday, Aug. 20 and include Indy Lights practice and qualifying. The Indy Lights Freedom 100 race, a significantly expanded Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place on Friday, Aug. 21 as part of Miller Lite Carb Day, followed by the public drivers’ meeting and full-field autograph session on Saturday, Aug. 22 as part of Legends Day presented by Firestone.
World War I forced the cancellation of the 1917 and 1918 Indy 500s, and a few decades later, World War II brought about the longest void for the great race as the Brickyard went silent from 1942-1945. Numerous rain delays have also led the race to be paused and continued a day or two after the start; excessive rain during the 1986 event created the longest gap between the start and finish as the race eventually won by Bobby Rahal was pushed back on two occasions, leading it to be completed six days after it began.
The Detroit Grand Prix, provided it is not moved, would open the season across the May 30-31 doubleheader. Along with the new date changes for the Indy GP, Indy 500, Mid-Ohio, and Gateway, which moves to August 30, the St. Petersburg Grand Prix – formally cancelled – is now back on the calendar at an undefined date. Portland also moves from its previous September 6 date to September 13.
For more information about race postponements and cancellations across world motorsport, as well as updates for those holding tickets for affected events, click here.