One of the biggest auto races in North America is having to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Thursday that the Indianapolis 500 will be pushed from May 24 to Aug. 23.
“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,” IMS and IndyCar Series owner Roger Penske said in a statement. “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.”
It will be the first time that the Indy 500 will be run outside the month of May. The first Indianapolis 500 was in 1911.
The IndyCar race on the Indianapolis road course two weeks before the Indy 500 has also been postponed. The May 9 race has been pushed to July 4, where it will be run the day before the NASCAR Cup Series Brickyard 400 at IMS. It’ll be the first time that the IndyCar Series and NASCAR Cup Series have run at the same facility on the same weekend and the IndyCar race will be held on the same day as the Xfinity Series race on the road course.
The move to push the May events at IMS back in the summer likely has just as much to do with the potential for social distancing protocols at the end of May as it does with disruptions to preparations in the coming weeks because of current social distancing measures. While we don’t have any idea how “normal” life will be as summer unofficially approaches, we do know that teams are unable to prepare properly in the coming weeks because of measures put in place by state and local governments.
The postponement of the two IndyCar races at IMS means that the IndyCar Series is now set to start on May 30 with the first of back-to-back races in Detroit.
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
More from Yahoo Sports: