The pandemic has claimed more of the normal Indianapolis 500 pre-race activity and has had an effect on the purse. The last row shootout will not take place on Sunday, August 16, there will not be the traditional balloon release which usually precedes the command to start engines, and the purse, supposed to be $15 million this year, has been cut to $7 million. I have a feeling the schedule and other plans may be adjusted as next week goes on. At the end of this piece I have attached the revised on track schedule.
The balloon release was eliminated to reduce the number of personnel at the track on race day. As of now IMS is expecting 2,500 people on hand for race day. The announcement did not address the environmental concerns about the balloons, and a spokesperson said there is no intention of doing away with the tradition. Once something is eliminated, it usually doesn’t return. With no fans present for the race, I don’t think it matters whether the balloons are released. The 500 is going to look like any other race.
Last Row Shootout
The official entry list is at 31 cars with one more definitely expected. There is still a possibility of a 33rd entry, but no more. With no chance for bumping, the Speedway eliminated that part of qualifying Sunday’s schedule. If only they had removed the Fast Nine part as well and just made Sunday a practice day. The Fast Nine is a relic from when the track needed content fillers for qualifying days. It’s time to retire this played out part of the schedule. If someone has a problem Saturday, let them start last.
Teams knew they were going to take a financial hit, but this really hurts the smaller teams. The winner will receive just over $1 million. There is nothing that can be done about this. With no ticket revenue, the Speedway cannot offer the payout they had planned.
Indy 500 on-track schedule
Wednesday, Aug. 12
11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Oval Veterans Practice (NBC Sports Gold)
1-3 p.m.: Rookie Orientation, Veteran Refresher (NBC Sports Gold)
3-5:30 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Practice (NBC Sports Gold)
Thursday, Aug. 13
11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Practice (NBC Sports Gold)
Friday, Aug. 14
11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Practice(NBC Sports Gold)
Saturday, Aug. 15
8:30-9 a.m.: Indianapolis 500 Group 1 Practice (NBC Sports Gold)
9-9:30 a.m.: Indianapolis 500 Group 2 Practice (NBC Sports Gold)
11 a.m.-4:50 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Qualifying (NBC Sports Gold; NBC 3-5 p.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 16
11-11:30 a.m.: Fast Nine Shootout Practice (NBC Sports Gold)
1:15-2:15 p.m.: Fast Nine Shootout Qualifying (NBC Sports Gold; NBC 1-3 p.m.)
3:30-6 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Starting Field Practice (NBC Sports Gold; NBCSN 4-6 p.m.)
Friday, Aug. 21
11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Final Practice (NBC Sports Gold)
Sunday, Aug. 23
1 p.m.: Start of Indianapolis 500 pre-race broadcast (NBC)
2:30 p.m.: 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (NBC)
Ed Carpenter Racing has a new sponsor for the number 20 car for the August 23rd Indianapolis 500. The United States Space Force joins the team. The U. S. Air Force already sponsors the number 47, which Conor Daly will drive in the 500, and it also sponsors the 20 car when Daly drives it on the road and street courses. Carpenter has touted his team as the All american team, so this sponsorship falls in line with the team’s theme. The press release:
In the 1960s it was impossible to talk about the Indianapolis 500 without mentioning Andy Granatelli. His only victory came in 1969 with Mario Andretti driving, but his showmanship and innovations grabbed headlines throughout the decade. His strong presence at the track each May was felt by everyone there.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum introduced a new exhibit, “Granatelli,” on August 1. It is running concurrently with the “From the Vault” display. The Granatelli exhibit occupies the north hall. It is a small exhibit, with about a half dozen cars and a showcase of memorabilia.
Granatelli is remembered for two things: attempting to prolong the run of the popular Novi and for bringing the turbine powered car into the race. neither car had much success, but both had fans talking about Granatelli and his team.
A Granatelli quote in the display says. “The Novi did everything but win races.”
Granatelli tried to qualify for the 1948 race. On his qualifying run he had an average of 123 mph working through three laps. The right rear tire blew and he crashed his Miller Ford Offenhauser in turn two.
A Granatelli entry was converted to turbine power as a test car in 1955. Known as the SAC Fireboid, Henry Banks drove demonstration laps in 1955. the car then became property of Firestone as a test car. As a Granatelli entry the Kurtis Kraft KK 3000 was driven by Pat Flaherty in 1950 and Jim Rathmann to second place in 1952. Freddie Agabashian also had a turn behind the wheel of this machine.
The walls in the exhibit are are covered with murals with quotes and text from Granatelli’s biography, They Call Me Mr. 500. The one that stood out to me captures the essence of what every fan, driver, and car owner feels about the race and the speedway.
Althpugh the display is not large, it packs a lot of history about a great era at IMS and one of the most intriguing figures of that time. The exhibit runs through June 20, 2021.
I will have some more photos posted on my Facebook page, The Pit Window later tonight.
Museum will maintain normal tour, operating hours Aug. 17-20
In light of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s decision to conduct all 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge track activity without fans, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will be closed on all “500” track activity days.
The days the IMS Museum will be closed are: Aug. 12-16 (practice and Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying days); and Aug. 21-23 (Miller Lite Carb Day, Legends Day presented by Firestone, and “500” Race Day, respectively). This includes the Museum’s corporate offices.
The Museum will welcome visitors during its normal hours, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET), on all other days, and “Kiss the Bricks” track tours will be available from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The Museum’s popular and in-depth Golf Cart Tours will not be available beginning Aug. 10 and will resume Aug. 26.
Two featured exhibits are on display at the IMS Museum: “Granatelli: Larger Than Life presented by O’Donovan & McCardel Wealth Management by Raymond James,” which opened Aug. 1 and runs through June 20, and “From the Vault presented by Bank of America,” which runs through March 21.
The IMS Museum is a public, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in the infield of the world-famous 2.5-mile IMS oval, requiring its closure in order to comply with the decision to not allow fans at IMS for the 2020 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Like most museums and arts organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted revenue and finances for the IMS Museum. Donations are always welcomed; the generosity of our members, corporate sponsors, visitors and donors make it possible for Museum staff to preserve and share the 111-year history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its events, plus Indiana’s rich automotive heritage. At this time, your support is appreciated more than ever. To learn more about the many ways you can show your support – including memberships and our popular “Adopt-a-Car” program – please click here.
About the IMS Museum: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is home to one of the world’s premier motorsports and automobile collections, with interpretive emphasis on the Indianapolis 500 and its role as an American icon of sporting tradition and innovation.
Located inside the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, the IMS Museum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization which relies on the support of visitors, members, donors and corporate partners, who make possible our daily operations, exhibits, educational programming, and restoration and preservation initiatives.
here is the broadcast schedule leading up to the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. The race day broadcast begins at 1 pm ET with the green flag at approximately 2:30 pm ET. Practices are only on NBC Gold, which i think NBC should open up at a deeply discounted price. They had a half price sale at the mid point of the season last year.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been promoting the slogan,” Different Month, Same Feeling.” I think they can stop now. I never thought the feeling would be the same. Following yesterday’s announcement, There is definitely not the same feeling. I’m not sure if there is any feeling left.
I still believe it is the correct call to not allow fans for everyone’s safety. I don’t blame IU Health, the governor, or the mayor. My understanding is that it was Roger Penske’s call. Penske didn’t become a successful businessman by making bad decisions. This is defintiely a call for the long term of the speedway and the sport, although the short term is going to hurt.
There are some things that Indycar, IMS, and NBC could do to alleviate the angst of the fans. NBC could have a two week special price on NBC Gold for practices and qualifying. NBC could show the race not necessarily commercial free, but with ad overlays so that the action is on screen for the entire 200 laps. The Speedway could offer 2020 ticket holders a small gift shop coupon good through next May 30.
But life and racing go on. As of today, according to their websites, World Wide Technology Raceway (Gateway) and IMS are still selling tickets to their next events for now. As we found out the last few days, things can change quickly.
The doubleheader at Gateway will have two 200 lap races instead of the traditional 248 lap race. Qualifying will follow the same format as at Iowa, where the second lap determines the starting spot for race 2.
IMS Schedule for the Indianapolis 500
I will post each day’s schedule beginning next Wednesday. I’m wondering if the qualifying format will change if there are only 32 or 33 entries
Update from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway today issued the following statement:
“It is with great regret that we announce the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Aug. 23 without fans. This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership.
“As dedicated as we were to running the race this year with 25 percent attendance at our large outdoor facility, even with meaningful and careful precautions implemented by the city and state, the COVID-19 trends in Marion County and Indiana have worsened. Since our June 26 announcement, the number of cases in Marion County has tripled while the positivity rate has doubled. We said from the beginning of the pandemic we would put the health and safety of our community first, and while hosting spectators at a limited capacity with our robust plan in place was appropriate in late June, it is not the right path forward based on the current environment.
“We encourage Hoosiers to continue making smart decisions and following the advice of our public health officials so we can help get Indiana back on track.
“Penske Corporation made a long-term investment to be the steward of this legendary facility. While we were very excited to showcase the investments and enhancements we have made in the guest experience, we know we have reached the right decision. As much as Roger Penske and everyone associated with the ‘500’ wanted to race with fans this year, we ultimately reached this conclusion in partnership with the state of Indiana and city of Indianapolis.
“Our commitment to the Speedway is unwavering, and we will continue to invest in the Racing Capital of the World. We encourage everyone to watch this year’s race on NBC, and we look forward to welcoming our loyal fans back to ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ on May 30th of 2021.”
Further Information from IMS
- All on-track activity during the month of August, including practice and qualifications, will be closed to the general public.
- Individuals who still have tickets to this year’s Indy 500 will be credited for the 2021 Indianapolis 500 and will retain their seniority and their originally assigned seats.
- The first Indy 500 practice will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 12, with a full schedule available on IMS.com.
- All of the action from IMS can be viewed via NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN or NBC. Visit IMS.com or INDYCAR.com for a comprehensive streaming and broadcast schedule.
- The 104th Running of the Indy 500 will take place Sunday, Aug. 23, with national coverage beginning on NBC at 1 p.m. ET.
- Local Central Indiana coverage of the race will be available on NBC affiliate WTHR.
- Broadcast coverage of qualifications on Saturday, Aug. 15 begins on NBC at 3 p.m. ET.
- Sunday, Aug. 16 broadcast coverage of Pole Day begins on NBC at 1 p.m. ET.
From Indianapolis Motor Speedway