Indy 500 postponed; will have doubleheader with NASCAR
The IndyCar Series officially announced Thursday that the 104th running of the Indy 500 has been postponed until August 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the announcement wasn’t unexpected given the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic, what was somewhat of a surprise is the GMR Indy Grand Prix which has taken place on the road course at Indy a week prior to the 500 since 2014 will now be run on Saturday, July 4 as part of a NASCAR doubleheader weekend.
“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.”
Immediately following the live telecast of the GMR Grand Prix on July 4, NBC will air the first NASCAR race on the IMS road course with the Xfinity Series cars in action at the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard.
“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.”
NASCAR had shifted its dates around this season swapping the dates for the Brickyard from August to the July 4th weekend. The traditional July 4th weekend date for NASCAR at Daytona International Speedway was moved to August.
Indy said that as a result of the schedule changes at IMS, the INDYCAR races scheduled for Aug. 16 and Aug. 22 have been rescheduled. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is now scheduled for Aug. 9, and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway is now scheduled for Aug. 30. The IndyCar series had already called off the first four races on its season. Shortly after the Indy 500 postponement announcement, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg originally scheduled to be the season opening race on March 15, announced in an statement that they will be rescheduled and “would be expected to be the final round.”
NASCAR has always run the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend. The race is normally held after the F1 Grand Prix in Monaco and after the Indy 500. The F1 Monaco GP was cancelled earlier this month, and NASCAR has only said they expect to resume racing on May 9 at Martinsville.