When is Indy 500
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Famed Indianapolis 500 race will take place in August

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When is the Indy 500? For the first time ever it’s not in May. IndyCar announced in March that it moved the 104th Indianapolis 500 to Aug. 23.

The Indy 500 will be broadcast on NBC for the second consecutive year.

“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,” track owner Roger Penske said in a March release. “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.”

Under the updated Indy 500 schedule, the track will open with practice sessions Aug. 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on Aug. 14. Indy 500 qualifying is Aug. 15-16 with each full day of qualifications televised on NBC.

Thursday, Aug. 20 will feature Indy Lights practice and qualifying and pit-stop practice. The Indy Lights Freedom 100 and the final Indy 500 practice will take place Friday, Aug. 21 on Miller Lite Carb Day.

The IndyCar races scheduled for Aug. 16 and Aug. 22 have been rescheduled. The race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has been moved a week earlier to Aug. 9, and the World Wide Technology Raceway event has moved back to Aug. 30.

The Indy 500 joins a long list of major-league events that already have been postponed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Summer Olympics (which have been delayed until 2021), Kentucky Derby (postponed until Sept. 5) and The Masters (which are delayed indefinitely) also have had their traditional dates put on hold as the world wrestles with an outbreak that has infected more than 500,000 and killed more than 20,000 (including the United States recently passing a death toll of 1,000).

Formula One also recently announced a postponement of starting its schedule until mid-June. NASCAR remains the only major racing series that is committed to racing in May.

Here’s the full release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the postponement of the 104th Indy 500:

The Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge has been rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials from INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) announced today. The 104th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will air live on NBC, with the official green flag time to be announced at a later date.

The GMR Grand Prix will transition to Saturday, July 4 on the IMS road course as part of a historic double-header featuring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NASCAR. This first-of-its-kind racing event also will be televised by NBC on Independence Day.The Indianapolis 500 was originally scheduled for Sunday, May 24, in its traditional spot on the calendar during Memorial Day weekend. The GMR Grand Prix was scheduled to be run on Saturday, May 9.
“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.”
On-track action in August will begin at IMS with practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on Aug. 14 and Indianapolis 500 Qualifications on Saturday and Sunday Aug. 15-16. Each day of qualifications will be televised on NBC, providing more network coverage of qualifications for fans than in 2019.A full broadcast schedule will be released soon.The following week’s schedule will begin with hot pit-stop practice sessions on Thursday, Aug. 20 and include Indy Lights practice and qualifying. The Indy Lights Freedom 100 race, a significantly expanded Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place on Friday, Aug. 21 as part of Miller Lite Carb Day, followed by the public drivers’ meeting and full-field autograph session on Saturday, Aug. 22 as part of Legends Day presented by Firestone.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. An updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar is available at this link and can also be found at the bottom of this release.

GMR Grand Prix Makes Historic Move

The GMR Grand Prix will take the green flag Saturday, July 4, before the first NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the IMS road course – the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard. The unique holiday racing lineup will mark the first time that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will compete at the same track on the same weekend as both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series.

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.”

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. Individuals already in possession of those tickets should use them for entry. To learn more about the adjusted on-track schedule, review customer FAQ’s and submit questions, fans can visit www.ims.com/COVID19.

Important Indy 500 Race Weekend Concert Update

All concerts scheduled for the original Race Weekend in May have been canceled. This includes REO Speedwagon and Styx on Friday, May 22, Luke Bryan on Saturday, May 23 and Martin Garrix on Sunday, May 24.

This decision was made to provide the maximum flexibility possible to complete the Indianapolis 500 by Sunday, Aug. 23 and provide room for any contingency plans necessary. IMS appreciates the understanding of fans and regrets that the COVID-19 situation has caused the cancellation of these events.

Fans who 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. IMS concert customers will receive further communication on how to exercise their ticketing options.

Enhanced Health and Safety Measures at IMS

IMS and INDYCAR officials will continue to work closely with local, state and federal health representatives to ensure a safe and healthy experience for spectators. Enhanced measures that will be in place once activity resumes at IMS include:

  • Increasing housekeeping staff at the track to elevate frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces
  • Using cleaning products that meet current EPA and CDC guidelines for registered disinfectants to be used against COVID-19
  • Educating all employees on CDC prevention guidance, including proper handwashing technique and requesting that all vendors communicate strict hygiene protocol to staff
  • Increasing public hand-sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas, containing sanitizer that meets or exceeds the CDC standard for alcohol content
  • Reducing required hand-to-hand interactions between customers and staff at concession areas and other key IMS locations

Fernando Alonso arrives stateside to begin his latest Indy 500 odyssey

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Despite some nervous moments prior to departure for his Arrow McLaren SP team, Fernando Alonso officially is stateside to begin his third attempt at the Indy 500.

Alonso posted a photo Tuesday from his flight to the United States, where he will be through the Aug. 23 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET, NBC).

On Friday, he officially was in the Ruoff Mortgage-emblazoned firesuit he will wear while piloting the No. 66 Dallara-Chevrolet as a teammate to full-time drivers Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew in the Indianapolis 500.

Travel to the United States has been a hassle for NTT IndyCar Series drivers from abroad. Rookies Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay both faced some hurdles in arriving in time for the June 6 opener, and Felix Rosenqvist’s girlfriend was stuck in Sweden for a few months (returning the night of his Road America victory) because of COVID-19 red tape.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown told Motorsport.com last week that Alonso’s travel from his native Spain had been delayed because of restrictions during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Brown described a “nerve-wracking” process in which Alonso had to visit the U.S. embassy in Madrid to get special documents approved.

“It was never a problem; it was more that you can imagine with the state of play right now in America, it’s a bit chaotic,” Brown told Motorsport.com. “To just go through all the government hoops, it was taking some time. But he now has everything that he needs.”

During a July media availability, Arrow McLaren SP managing director Taylor Kiel said the postponement of the Indy 500 from May 24 had provided ample time to adjust with the COVID-19 protocols.

HOW TO WATCH THE INDY 500 ON NBCDetails for the Aug. 23 race

DAILY INDY 500 SCHEDULEClick here for all on-track activity in August at Indy

“His car is prepared along with Pato and Oliver’s in the same manner,” Kiel said. “His team is all full-time employees with Arrow McLaren SP. So they’re involved in all processes and procedures, the car builds, the pit stop practices. In terms of the package at IMS, I’m 100 percent confident.”

Having arrived a week ahead of the track opening with an Aug. 12 practice, Alonso should have the opportunity for simulator time and getting acclimated to the team at its Indianapolis shop. Kiel said Arrow McLaren SP “will do everything we can to get him up to speed. The caveat to all of that is that he has done this before in this car. Obviously with different teams, but he’s got experience. He’s a professional, world-champion caliber driver. If anybody can show up and just drive, it would probably be him.

“So anything we can do beforehand is icing on the cake.”

After failing to qualify with an ill-prepared car last year, Alonso is walking into a situation that’s on par with his rookie attempt in 2017. He led 27 laps for Andretti Autosport before finishing 24th because of an engine failure.

With the youthful tandem of O’Ward (second at Road America; fourth at Iowa) and Askew (third and sixth at Iowa) proving capable of winning — and with new race engineer Craig Hampson — Alonso should have a legitimate shot at a victory to complete motorsports’ “Triple Crown.”

Fernando Alonso won the first two legs in Formula One (the Monaco Grand Prix in 2006-07) and sports cars (the 24 Hours of Le Mans) but needs the Indy 500 to join the legendary Graham Hill as only the second driver to complete the feat.

“I think the Indy 500 is one of the most impressive races, and the Indy 500 completes the big three races in motorsports and three completely different disciplines,” Alonso told Leigh Diffey during a February interview to announce his Arrow McLaren SP deal. “It makes you quite a complete driver. That’s what I’m looking for in this stage of my career. The Indy 500 is probably the biggest priority for me now.”