IndyCar will run with NASCAR as a historic double-header in July, while Indy500 has been postponed to August for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In response to the spread of the coronavirus in the United States of America, the ‘Month of May’ at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – in which the IndyCar GP and Indy500 take place – has been moved to a later, summertime date.
The IndyCar GP will take place on July 4 – a day which will also see NASCAR run their race at IMS, as part of a historic double-header which is the first of its kind. Meanwhile, the infamous Indy500 will run on August 23, almost exactly three months after May 23.
The practice sessions for the Indy500 will start on August 12-13, which will lead into Fast Friday on the 14th, and qualifications on 15-16. After this, there will be the hot pit stop practices on 20th with the Indy Lights Freedom 100 race on 21st.
It also see the Indy500 pit stop challenge on the same date along with the practice session. Saturday’s festivities remain unchanged, barring the rather obvious modification to the date, with the finale on August 23 at the famous Indianapolis circuit.
Owner of the Brickyard, and owner of the IndyCar series, Roger Penske, made it clear that he feels sorry for having to take this action, but the motorsports mogul also said that the move was necessary as the world reels under the virus outbreak.
“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,” said Penske. “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.”
At the same time, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Mark Miles, stated: “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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, with regards to the NASCAR/IndyCar double-header, IMS president J. Douglas Boles added: “For very good reason, this historic pairing of NASCAR and IndyCar will be circled on the calendar of every motorsports fan.
“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.” The change will see more shuffles on the IndyCar calendar as Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio moves to August 9 and the race at Gateway on August 30. St. Pete is back as the 2020 finale.
Here’s the revised schedule presented by IndyCar – for now:
The IndyCar release also added more info on concert and health advisory:
“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.”
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The story was edited by Darshan Chokhani