MUNCIE, Ind. — The Indianapolis 500 has been moved to late August. The postponement is because of the coronavirus pandemic, said IMS President Doug Boles Thursday.
IndyCar president Mike Miles said he and other IndyCar leaders believe moving the race to August will put them outside the window set forth by national and world health experts in which people need to be social distancing because of the virus.
Ball State economics professor Michael Hicks is not as optimistic. He goes as far as to say that the rescheduled running in August may not even happen.
“Still may have an Indy 500 in August. I hope we do,” Hick said. “If we do though, it’s likely going to be without the crowds that we otherwise would have had before which would really limit the economic impact.”
Based on how the virus has spread in other countries and the measures that have been taken so far to contain it he is not convinced the virus will be snuffed out enough to justify crowds of 50,000 to 70,000 people, much less over 300,000 the race normally sees every Memorial Day weekend.
“We still may have the teams, the drivers. We may have the event televised,” he continued. “But, it seems really unlikely we’ll see that many people in that sort of a place this early without vaccines or other limits to the spread of the COVID disease.”
The same goes for the Fourth of July, which is when the GMR Grand Prix has rescheduled to compliment the Brickyard 400. Again, he has a hard time seeing IMS being able to put on both events without people being further exposed to the virus.
Listen to the full interview with Michael Hicks:
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