Coronavirus pandemic forces Indianapolis 500 to move race to August

The Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 24 has been postponed until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.

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The Indianapolis 500 has been moved from its traditional Memorial Day weekend run to August.

The Indianapolis 500 has been moved from its traditional Memorial Day weekend run to August.

AP

The Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 24 has been postponed until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.

The race will instead be held Aug. 23.

The Indianapolis 500 began in 1911 but did not run in 1917, 1918, and from 1941-45 because of World Wars I and II. Tony Hulman bought the neglected speedway after the second war and the Indy 500 returned Memorial Day weekend of 1946 and has been scheduled for that weekend every year since.

Although weather disrupted other runnings of the prestigious race, it had never been outright rescheduled until Thursday.

It was an inevitable decision but still had to be difficult for Roger Penske, who completed his purchase of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar in January and has already pumped millions into capital improvements to ready the historic venue for its first 500 under new ownership.

Penske had been eagerly anticipating the May 15 start to the IndyCar season, but was forced to suspend the series 48 hours before the scheduled opener when the coronavirus was declared a pandemic. Four races were initially scrapped — the street course events in the downtowns of St. Petersburg, Florida and Long Beach, California, will not be rescheduled — and IndyCar said it would resume racing May 9 on the road course at Indianapolis.

That race will now be run on July 4, a day before NASCAR races at The Brickyard.

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