Organizers for the 104th Indianapolis 500 announced today the race will be postponed. Originally set to take place on May 24, it will now take place on August 23. It's the latest major motorsport event to be affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On-track action will begin on Wednesday, August 12, for first practice sessions. Another practice session will take place on Thursday, followed by "Fast Friday" on August 14. Qualifying will happen on Saturday and Sunday, August 15-16. Pit stop practice sessions and Indy Lights qualifying will happen on Thursday, August 20. The Indy Lights Freedom 100 race will happen the following day, along with the final Indy 500 practice session.
"The month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite time of the year, and like our fans, I'm disappointed we've had to reschedule the the Indy 500," chairman Roger Penske said in a statement released on Twitter by the NTT IndyCar Series. "We're going to double-down on the customer experience in the months ahead, and I'm confident we'll greet fans with a transformed facility and a world-class spectacle when we run the world's greatest race later this year."
This isn't the first time the Indy 500 has been postponed. It's been rescheduled on three separate occasions due to rain. The last time the race was outright canceled, however, was during World War II. Thankfully, that's not the case here.
In a media conference call after the announcement, Penske Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Miles said the August date was chosen because IndyCar needs two weekend in a row for the 500. The organizers figured it was best to aim for late summer, so there'd be less of a chance that the race would have to be postponed again, or cancelled. The August date also means the 500 will happen before the NFL starts its regular season, too.
As a result of moving the 500 to August, the race at Mid-Ohio, originally set to take place on August 16, has been moved to August 9, and the August 22 World Wide Technology Raceway event in Illinois has been pushed to August 30. The GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course has been rescheduled for July 4, a date now shared with the NASCAR Xfinity series.
IndyCar isn't the only series to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Formula 1, IMSA, NASCAR, WEC, WRC, MotoGP, and Formula E are just a few of the championships to have their seasons impacted. Head on over here to stay up to date on all of the events in the car world that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
This post features additional reporting by Chris Perkins.