The Indianapolis 500 has been postponed until August in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The annual race is now scheduled to take place on August 23 rather than the previously scheduled May 24 date.
It marks the first time since 1946 that the Indianapolis 500 won’t be run on Memorial Day weekend.
“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 in a statement released by Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
[T]he 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,” he said. “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 has been a fixture since its inception in 1911. However, there have been seven other years in which the iconic race didn’t take place with all of them being due to World Wars I and II.
It was annually scheduled for Memorial Day weekend and has become a fixture for millions of racing fans around the world ever since.
“In times like this it is all about leadership and communication. We have both in IndyCar and NASCAR,” racing owner Chip Ganassi said.
Memorial Day weekend has gone hand-in-hand with the Indianapolis 500, but the COVID-19 outbreak has put a damper on those plans. This marks the first installment of the iconic race since Penske purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November 2019.
“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.”
Four IndyCar races were originally postponed, but the series was expecting to resume racing May 9 in a road course in Indianapolis. The IndyCar series currently has the opening race listed as May 30 in Detroit, but that may not happen since the Indianapolis 500 has been postponed.
“I’ll tell you this, no matter what day or month or time they run the Indy 500 it’s the greatest race on the whole planet earth, we’ll just have it in August this time and it will still be super, super good,” Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser added.
French driver Simon Pagenaud won the Indianapolis 500 in 2019 and it marked the ninth consecutive year that there was not a repeat winner.
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