Three of the toughest and most successful Indy 500 winners have weighed in on the race’s unprecedented move from May 24 to August 23 in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Running the Indianapolis 500 in August is something I never experienced before, but all I can say is it will still be the Indy 500,” said A.J. Foyt, the first to join Indy’s four-time winners club. “I never thought we’d see it like this, but all of the sports field has been affected – the Olympics, the Kentucky Derby, Le Mans. So we’re not the only ones affected by this; we’re just one of them. I’m just glad that we will be able to race. IndyCar is trying to do the best they can for the fans and the competitors, so I give them a lot of credit. It’s a shame Roger [Penske] has to go through this in his first year of owning Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but you couldn’t have a better man in charge.”
Three-time Indy winner Bobby Unser, whose harrowing annual drive from Albuquerque to Indianapolis for the 500 deserves an extra appearance or two on the BorgWarner trophy, was thankful to hear the great race was postponed, rather than cancelled.
“That’s a shame that the Indianapolis 500 had to be moved to August but it’s for the safety of everyone and something that had to be done,” he said. “I’ll tell you this – no matter what day or month or time they run the Indy 500, it’s the greatest race on the whole planet earth. We’ll just have it in August this time and it will still be super, super good!”
Indy’s oldest living winner, the iconic Parnelli Jones, applauded the efforts of friend and former rival Roger Penske, who owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NTT IndyCar Series.
“Wow, I’m sorry they had to move the Indianapolis 500 till August,” he said from his home in southern California. “If anyone can adapt to changes and make an August Indy 500 work it’s Roger Penske. This is the right thing to do for the fans, teams and drivers. We all know Indy is about traditions, I’m glad they’ll still have a qualifying weekend and race weekend. We all look forward to the Indy 500 each year, we just have to wait a little long this time.”