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.”
The Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge has been rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23 and the GMR Grand Prix will move to Saturday, July 4.
— Indianapolis Motor Speedway (@IMS) March 26, 2020
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.
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