The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 has been pushed back from May until August due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, IndyCar announced Thursday.
The Greatest Spectacle in Racing will now be held on Sunday, August 23rd, 2020. Additionally, practice sessions for the race will be held on Wednesday, August 12th and Thursday, August 13th, followed by Fast Friday on August 14th and qualifying on the 15th and 16th.
The Indianapolis 500 was originally scheduled for Sunday, May 24th during Memorial Day weekend – a yearly tradition for IndyCar’s biggest event.
Additionally, the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Indy road course has also been pushed back as a result of the scheduling change. Originally scheduled for Saturday, May 9th, the race will now be held on Saturday, July 4th. This places it on the same weekend as the NASCAR Xfinity Series event on the IMS road course, creating a NASCAR and IndyCar doubleheader.
“For very good reason, this historic pairing will be circled on the calendar of every motorsports fan,” said IMS president J. Douglas Boles. “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.”
All concerts scheduled for the original Indy 500 race weekend in May, which included Styx, Luke Bryan and Martin Garrix, have been canceled. IMS says this decision was “made to provide the maximum flexibility possible to complete the Indianapolis 500 by Sunday, Aug. 23rd and provide room for any contingency plans necessary.” Fans who purchased concert tickets are entitled to an IMS credit or can receive a full cash refund if they wish.
IMS says it will be implementing additional health and safety measures for the August event as a result of the pandemic. This will include hiring more housekeeping staff, using cleaning products that meet EPA and CDC guidelines, educating employees on CDC prevention guidance and adding public hand-sanitizing stations to high-traffic areas.