The Indianapolis 500 is an institution of motor racing enjoyed and respected all over the world. Every year the month of May brings the pomp and circumstance of international competition to the town of Speedway, Indiana for a month-long celebration of speed and ingenuity. Only something truly devastating can stop Indy’s incredible month of May, as last happened in the years spanning the attacks on Pearl Harbor until the Axis surrender. Or a global pandemic.
Announced on Thursday, the 104th running of the great American race has changed dates and will not be run on Memorial Day weekend because of the continued expansion of the COVID-19 viral threat. Originally scheduled for May 24th, the Indy 500 has been postponed until August 23rd.
“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, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 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.”
Another round of the IndyCar season, the GMR Grand Prix, was scheduled to run May 9th on the speedway’s road course, but has also been postponed to the July 4th weekend running with NASCAR.
And what’s the worst part of this whole ordeal? No Styx!
All concerts scheduled for the original Race Weekend in May have been canceled. This includes REO Speedwagon and Styx on Friday, May 22, Luke Bryan on Saturday, May 23 and Martin Garrix on Sunday, May 24.
This news comes well after the cancellation of the Monaco Grand Prix, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans was pushed back to September. It’s hardly a surprise that the race has been postponed, though it will still be something of a shock to the system that IMS will sit empty through the month of May.
It is definitely the right decision to postpone, but as I have mentioned before, I do think it is optimistic to think that this whole mess will be cleaned up by August or September. And even if it is clean and safe to be meeting up by the tens of thousands again in August, every major motorsport season will be condensed into the second half of the 2020 year and things may get hectic (and expensive) for teams and fans.
The worst is still ahead, and we have a long road to travel. All we can hope to do is our best. I will be seriously bummed if the Indy 500 doesn’t happen this year, but we all will persevere without it. Stay inside, stay safe, and we’ll all enjoy motorsport all the more whenever it does come back.