IndyCar is the latest sport to announce major changes as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indianapolis 500 won’t take place until Aug. 23. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway also elected to postpone the Indianapolis Grand Prix until July 4.
The decision falls in line with similar moves that other sports leagues have made over the last few weeks.
The NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA Tour, and MLS have all suspended their seasons indefinitely.
That eliminated the vast majority of sports betting options.
NASCAR and IndyCar have postponed everything until at least May, and are looking to reschedule the races that hit the chopping block.
Indy 500 forced to make rare changes
As other sports leagues around the country closed their doors, IndyCar and Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske watched carefully.
The NBA was the first professional league to shut things down on March 12.
With the Indy 500 not scheduled until May 24, there was initially some hope that things would blow over in time to avoid any postponements. However, it quickly became clear that that wasn’t going to work out.
2020 marks the first time that the race won’t be held on Memorial Day weekend since 1945, when World War II forced the race’s cancelation.
Penske announced the changes with a statement on IndyCar’s website.
“The month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite time of the year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500. 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.”
Penske purchased the Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series back in November 2019. May’s race would have been the first under his ownership.
Now, both Penske and fans alike will have to wait until August 23 for the 104th running of the race. This year’s 500 will be the first since sports betting started in the Hoosier State.
Practices will begin on Aug. 12, while qualifying will take place the weekend of Aug. 15. Carb Day is now Aug. 21.
Indy Grand Prix sets up first-ever doubleheader with NASCAR
The Indianapolis Grand Prix runs prior to the 500 every year.
That’s still the case for 2020, although the Grand Prix will be taking place on July 4 rather than the originally scheduled May 9.
However, it won’t be the only race scheduled for the Fourth of July.
NASCAR has also been forced to move things around due to COVID-19. Those changes have a NASCAR Xfinity Series race slated for the same day as the Grand Prix, making July 4 the first-ever doubleheader between IndyCar and NASCAR.
It’s an unprecedented move that will keep Indianapolis busy throughout the holiday.
The Brickyard 400 is also taking place the day after both of those races at the Motor Speedway. That brings the total to three different races on the track within 26 hours.
Delaying races wasn’t what anyone wanted, but the Motor Speedway will certainly be hoping that a race-filled Independence Day weekend will help make up for the lost time.
Between all three races, bettors will have plenty of options by the time July rolls around.