By: Tanner Watkins
March 26, 2020 | 12:30 PM
For the first time in the race’s history, the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race will not be held in the month of May. In response to worldwide safety measures being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Indy 500 has been rescheduled for Sunday, August 23.
Additionally, the GMR Grand Prix – which was scheduled for a May 9 race date at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has been postponed to Saturday, July 4 as a support race for NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 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,” said Roger Penske, in an IMS statement.
“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.”
For the Indianapolis 500, the revised schedule appears as follows:
Wednesday, August 12 – Practice
Thursday, August 13 – Practice
Friday, August 14 – Fast Friday Practice
Saturday, August 15 – Day One Qualifications
Sunday, August 16 – Day Two Qualifications
Thursday, August 20 – Pit Stop Practice and Indy Lights Practice/Qualifying
Friday, August 21 – Miller Lite Carb Day
Saturday, August 22 – Firestone Legends Day
Sunday, August 23 – Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge
In other Indianapolis 500 weekend news, the Speedway announced that all concerts for Miller Lite Carb Day, Firestone Legends Day, and race day’s Snake Pit have been canceled. Individuals who made concert-specific purchases for 2020 will need to contact IMS to apply purchase credit to 2021 events, or receive a refund.
In order to run the Indianapolis 500 in its recent two-week format, two additional changes to the NTT IndyCar Series schedule have been made.
The Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio, which was originally scheduled for August 16, will now be run one week earlier on August 9. Furthermore, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at WorldWide Technology Raceway at Gateway has been moved from August 22 to a new August 30 date.
The Gateway move is notable as the race now moves from Saturday to a Sunday.
Finally, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg has been moved to the end of the IndyCar calendar – taking the place of Laguna Seca for the season finale. That means, at the earliest, the 2020 season would end on September 27.
While INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway waited as long as possible to make today’s decision, it became clear that the “500” was the last major event left standing between today and June – joining a list of postponements or cancelations that includes The Masters, March Madness, Le Mans, and many more.
“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.”
An updated “Month of August” broadcast schedule will be released soon.
Header image by Karl Zemlin/INDYCAR.