Listen Live

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — The Indianapolis 500 has never been postponed to this degree, says Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson.

The 104th running of the Indy 500 was postponed until August 23rd this week by the NTT IndyCar Series and IMS because of the coronavirus pandemic. In its history the race has either been run every Memorial Day weekend or canceled because of the World Wars.

“This is unprecedented,” Davidson said to WISH-TV. “Since the inaugural running in 1911, it was not held in 1917 or 1918 because of World War I and from 1942 to 1945 because of World War II.”

Even with weather delays, Davidson said the race has never been un any later than May 31st every year since 1946.

“It will be a little surreal to have a Memorial Day weekend and no race,” he added. “But more than that, when we come back and have the race in August, it will definitely be a little strange.”

Though this will be the first time the race will be postponed for a reason other than a world war, this is not the first time the race has been affected by a global pandemic. Back in 1918 Indy native Johnny Aitken, who drove in the inaugural running of the 500 and was the pole-sitter for the race in 1916, died as a result of the Spanish flu outbreak.