SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Keeping you safe from the spread of the coronavirus was always the primary reason leaders at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ultimately decided to move the Indianapolis 500 to August this year.
Near the end of March, IMS president Doug Boles made the announcement that the Indianapolis 500 would be run on Aug. 23 and the GMR Grand Prix would be moved to July 4th weekend, coupling that race with NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 festivities.
“There’s been a lot of talk over the last 18 months about a double with IndyCar and NASCAR on some weekend at the same track somewhere around the country,” Boles said to Inside Indiana Business. “We just didn’t know it would be the Indianapolis Motor Speedway so we are really looking forward to that.”
But Boles added that another big underlying reason why they decided to push the Indy 500 back was a lack of time to prepare for such a big event.
“When the governor said that it’s probably a good idea to shelter in place we started thinking about how long it takes to prepare to host more than 300,000 people at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Boles said. “The best thing for us to do was to move the Indy 500 … in order for us to prepare properly.”
With most workers in Indiana under an order to stay at home, Boles said IMS employees are no exception and that with their workers at home and unable to be at the track to make the necessary preparations for the race the decision was made to move the race to August.
“We’re still hopeful that by May 24th we can at least be back outside,” he added. “But for us, we can’t pack that preparation time into such a small window.”
Boles also said you can expect pretty much every tradition associated with the Indianapolis 500 to happen as well in August.
IMS is also throwing a third IndyCar race into the mix. This fall the IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix will be run on the IMS road course Oct. 3. It will serve as a replacement event for the now-canceled Chevrolet Duel in Detroit.
The shuffle in the schedule would make the Indy Texas 600 the first race of the 2020 season. IndyCar is also adding double-header races at Iowa and Laguna Seca to make up for canceled races at St. Petersburg and Long Beach.