Indy 500 moved to August in latest IndyCar schedule changes

3 Mins read
Credit: John Cote / Courtesy of IndyCar

The 2020 Indianapolis 500 has been rescheduled by the NTT IndyCar Series and will now take place on Sunday, August 23 due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This will mark the first time in history that the Indianapolis 500 has taken place outside of the month of May. The Grand Prix of Indianapolis has also been rescheduled and will now take place on Saturday, July 4; the same weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Shortly after the cancellation of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series opener, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, it was announced that all IndyCar races that were set to take place before May would also cancelled. This meant that the season was due to start with the Grand Prix of Indianapolis at the beginning of May.

Now, however, with the outbreak of COVID-19 looking as though it will extend well into the next few months, the NTT IndyCar Series announced today that both the Indianapolis 500 and the Grand Prix of Indianapolis would have to be pushed back.

The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 is now scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 23; almost three months later than previously scheduled. This will be the first time in the event’s century-long history that the race will be held outside of the Month of May.

“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 – owner of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 – said today. “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 added today. “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.”

Whilst history will be made with the first Indianapolis 500 held outside of May, history will also be made with the rescheduled Grand Prix of Indianapolis. The event will take place on Saturday, July 4, on the same weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series races at the famous speedway. Both IndyCar and the XFINITY Series will race on the Grand Prix circuit at Indianapolis on the Saturday, with the NASCAR Cup Series racing on the oval on the Sunday. This will mark the first-time that IndyCar and the NASCAR Cup Series have shared a race weekend at the same circuit.

“For very good reason, this historic pairing will be circled on the calendar of every motorsports fan,” J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President, 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 stands, the NTT IndyCar Series is now technically supposed to begin on Saturday, May 30 with the first of the two races that comprise the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader weekend. However, it is very likely that this event will also be postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The current schedule remains with the same run of races following Detroit, with the series heading to Texas Motor Speedway, Road America and then Richmond Raceway for what will now be rounds three, four and five respectively. The rescheduled Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be the sixth round of the season, with Toronto, Iowa Speedway and Mid-Ohio following after that.

The Indianapolis 500 is slated to be the tenth round of the season on August 23, with qualifying taking place the weekend before. The previously scheduled races at Gateway, Portland and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will come after the Indy 500, with the season set to now end with a rescheduled Grand Prix of St. Petersburg; which has yet to receive a date as of now.

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Reporter from the East of England. Covering the NTT IndyCar Series for The Checkered Flag. Also an eSports racing driver on iRacing.
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