The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 has been rescheduled for August 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the first time in the history of the event that the race will not be held in May. The race will air live on NBC, with a start time to be announced at a later date.
The GMR Grand Prix has been the opening act of the Month of May festivities for the past six years. That race has been rescheduled for July 4, in what will be a historic Independence Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The IndyCar race on the IMS road course will take place first on Saturday, followed by the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in what will be the first double-header event between the two series.
“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.”
The first week of on-track action at IMS will consist of three days of practice for the Indianapolis 500. The first day of practice will be August 12, with Fast Friday on August 14. Qualifications for the race will take place on August 15 and 16 with NBC providing television coverage on both days.
The following week will provide hot pit stop practice sessions on August 20, along with Indy Lights practice and qualifying. The Freedom 100 race, and expanded Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge, and final Indy 500 practice will follow on Carb Day, August 21. Legends Day will be the following Saturday and the race on Sunday.
The NTT IndyCar Series also announced an updated schedule today, with many races changing dates. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is now scheduled for August 9, and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway will now run on August 30. One pleasant surprise with today’s announcement was that St Petersburg is tentatively being scheduled as the season-finale. The race was supposed to be the season-opener and was thought to be completely canceled altogether.
The full revised schedule can be seen here:
Tickets already purchased for the Indianapolis 500, GMR Grand Prix and associated on-track days such as Miller Lite Carb Day and Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend will be valid on the rescheduled dates. All concerts scheduled for the original Race Weekend in May have been canceled. Fans that made concert-specific purchases will be able to access a credit for any IMS event, including the Indy 500, or choose to receive a refund.
“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. “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.”
As it currently stands, the 2020 season will open with a double-header in Detroit at the end of May. The first oval race with the new aero screen will take place the following week at Texas Motor Speedway. This will also be the first time since 2011 that an oval race will follow the Indianapolis 500 on the calendar.
This will be the first Indianapolis 500 to ever run outside of May, and the first since 1946 to not run on Memorial Day weekend. It will still be the Month of May, and the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.