Indy 500 postponed until August 23 because of coronavirus pandemic

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FILE – In this May 24, 2019, file photo, cars take to the track during the final practice session for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 24 has been postponed until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.
The race will instead be held Aug. 23. (AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indianapolis 500 is postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is now scheduled for August 23. The official green flag time will be announced at a later date.

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INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

The GMR Grand Prix is moved to Saturday, July 4 on the IMS road course. It will be part of a double-header with the Brickyard 400. The NASCAR race was moved to July 4 at IMS for the first time this year. Drivers will compete on the same track on the same weekend.

Related: NASCAR postpones races due to coronavirus

The Indianapolis 500 was originally scheduled for Sunday, May 24, in its traditional spot on the calendar during Memorial Day weekend. The GMR Grand Prix was scheduled to be run on Saturday, May 9.

Tickets already purchased for the Indianapolis 500, GMR Grand Prix, Miller Lite Carb Day and Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend will be valid on the rescheduled dates.

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All concerts scheduled for the original Indy 500 weekend in May are canceled. This includes REO Speedwagon and Styx on Friday, May 22, Luke Bryan on Saturday, May 23 and Martin Garrix on Sunday, May 24.

Fans who made concert-specific purchases can get a credit for any IMS event, including the Indy 500, or choose to receive a refund.

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“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. “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.”

Related: Masters postponed due to coronavirus

Every year since 1946, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Speedway during Memorial Day weekend for the largest single-day sporting event in the world, but the coronavirus pandemic has turned the traditional sports schedule upside down.

Since the inaugural race was held in 1911, the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” has only been put on hiatus twice. The first occasion was from 1917 to 1918 because of World War I, and the second time was from 1942 to 1945 due to World War II.

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On-track action in August will begin at IMS with practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, August 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on August 14 and Indianapolis 500 Qualifications on Saturday and Sunday August 15-16.

The Indy Lights Freedom 100 race, the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge, and final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place on Friday, August 21 as part of Miller Lite Carb Day, followed by the public drivers’ meeting and full-field autograph session on Saturday, August 22 as part of Legends Day.

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As most every fan knows, the race is the big event at the end of a month-long celebration in Indianapolis. On March 18, the 500 Festival announced the suspension of all in-person events through May 9, including the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. That event is now a “virtual race.” The 500 Festival says registered runners will receive details on how to participate virtually and still earn their 2020 shirt and medal.

Here is an updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule as a result of the changes.

Saturday, May 30: Streets of Detroit Race 1

Sunday, May 31: Streets of Detroit Race 2

Saturday,  June 6: Texas  Motor Speedway

Sunday, June 21: Road America

Saturday, June 27: Richmond Raceway

Saturday, July 4: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course

Sunday,  July 12: Streets of Toronto

Saturday, July 18: Iowa Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 9: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Sunday, Aug. 23: Indianapolis 500 Mile Race

Sunday, Aug. 30: World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway

Sunday, Sept. 13: Portland International Raceway

Sunday, Sept. 20: WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca

TBD Expected Finale: Streets of St. Petersburg

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