Indy 500 shifted to August due to Covid-19

Sage Karam during the NTT IndyCar Series 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The 2020 Indianapolis 500 was moved to August 23 because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the first time the famed auto race will not be held on Memorial Day weekend since 1946.

With the public health crisis continuing to grow, particularly now in the US, the rescheduling was essentially inevitable.

“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,” said Roger Penske, who early this year completed his purchase of the speedway, IndyCar, and IMS Productions.

“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,” Penske said.

The race began in 1911, but wasn’t held in 1917-18, and then from 1941-45 because of World War I and II. Since 1946, the race has been a fixture of Memorial Day weekend. There have been some occasional schedule adjustments over the years due to weather, but nothing on the scale of what’s required now because of the pandemic. 

The race will be shown on NBC on the rescheduled date. 

With a broader set of shifts to the overall motorsports calendar created by this rescheduling, the GMR Grand Prix will also shift to July 4 on the IMS road course, creating an historic doubleheader event with the NTT IndyCar Series and Nascar’s Pennzoil 150 set for the same track on the same weekend. NBC will also broadcast this first-of-its-kind racing event.

“For very good reason, this historic pairing will be circle 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.”