A Change That Should Become Permanent

Photo: Josef Newgarden on his way to the Indycar championship at Laguna Seca. Photo by Kyle McInnes

The NTT Indycar Series announced today that due to the shortened uncertain season, the final race of the year will not be a double points race. As of now the 14 scheduled races  shows Weather Tech Raceway as the final race, but if St. Pete can find a way to reschedule in October, the finale will shift to Florida.

I think the uncertainty of where the final will be and the shorter season contributed to this decision. I’m not even sure the season will begin in Detroit on May 30. Virginia has issued stay in place orders effective until June 10, just about two weeks ahead of the race at Richmond. It may be a struggle to get 10 races run in 2020. I think fewer events than that would make for a hollow championship.

Now that that the finale is not a double points race, I hope the series sees that there is no need to resurrect the concept for 2021. I have never been a fan of double points in general, especially for the final race. I’m surprised NASCAR didn’t think of this gimmick first. It does not in reality put more drivers in contention. Too many things have to happen for someone 70 points out of first going into the final weekend to have shot at the title.

Once Indycar sees that they can live without a double point finale, let’s eliminate the bonus points for the 500 as well. The drivers already know it’s the most important date on the calendar. The extra points has not given anyone an advantage in the standings overall. The last time the winner of the 500 won the series title was 2010, when Dario Franchitti was in his four year period of dominating Indycar. Since double points have been in effect, Juan Pablo Montoya tied Scott Dixon in points, but lost the Astor Cup on a tie breaker.

With the shorter season this year winning the 500 and 100 points will give the winner an advantage in the standings that may be difficult to overcome. I’m assuming the winner of the 500 will be one of the title contenders. I think that is a pretty safe bet this year.

I applaud Indycar’s move. It is definitely a step in the right direction. Let’s make this permanent and make all races the same amount of points.

Some Thoughts: Indycar iRace at the Glen

Sage Karam’s dominating win in the Amerucan Red Cross Grand Prix iRace at Watkins Glen yesterday was fun to watch. It provided a much needed break for Indycar fans. This was the first sim race I had watched from start to finish. I found the cars and the action to be realistic. The track, however, looked like an older version of Watkins Glen. Some of it appeared different from when I was there at the last Indycar race.

We fans needed the race to connect in a positive way for a couple of hours. Yes, the race was artificial, but we still treated it as a real race by tweeting back and forth.

The broadcast crew was a  great addition. I enjoyed the replays and the side interviews with Robert Wickens and James Hinchcliffe.  Maybe NBCSN can broadcast the remaining five races. Will the novelty wear off after a couple of events? Maybe fans are so starved for racing that this is sustainable.

I wonder if Karam’s experience at iRacing gives him an advantage for all the races.

The invocation and the national anthem were a nice touch.

Yesterday’s incident involving three Penske cars may be the only time we ever see that happen.

A caution flag might have been good. There were two occasions where one would have been thrown.

Seeing Watkins Glen made me miss that track even more. I hope Indycar can find a way back there.

 

It’s iRace Day

It’s the first race of Indycar’s iRacing Challenge Series this afternoon at 4 pm ET. The race is 45 laps at Watkins Glen. Each team is allowed two “fast repairs” pit stops. The cars settings are fixed.  The lineup has been fluid.

Robert Wickens posted just a few minutes ago that he will not be participating. There was hope he would be in the race yesterday with help from Cary and Todd Bettenhausen and Max Papis, but the steering wheel will not be delivered in time. I was very much looking forward to see him in this race.

Scott Dixon is also not driving today, but Jimmie Johnson will race. Also, Scott McLaughlin is entered in the number 2 car for Team Penske.

The race today will be some relief to race starved Indycar fans. May 30 is still a long way off.

In Real Life

Scott McLaughlin will not make his actual Indycar debut in the GMR Grand Prix because of the date change. I hope he can get in a race or two when the season actually starts. The adjusted schedule may make that possibility difficult.

I’m hearing that if Detroit can’t be run in May, there is a possibility of it moving to October. Actually, the more October races the better, even when things return to normal.

Enjoy the race.

Indycar’s Preview: “5 Things To Look For…” heading into the American Red Cross Grand Prix

American Red Cross Grand Prix
INDIANAPOLIS (March 27, 2020) – The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a virtual racing event featuring a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, begins this weekend with Saturday’s American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

The event, which will last approximately 90 minutes, will be streamed through INDYCAR.com while INDYCAR’s YouTube and Facebook platforms as well as iRacing’s Twitch will serve as additional outlets for viewing. The NBC broadcasting team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy will be calling the action. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by iconic national anthem singer Jim Cornelison adding his voice as he has for the past three Indianapolis 500s.

Click: Entry List

The entry list of 25 drivers includes series champions Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan, four Indianapolis 500 winners and collectively has registered 140 series victories. The Team Penske trio of Newgarden, Pagenaud and Power, along with the A.J. Foyt Racing duo of Bourdais and Kanaan, have combined for nine series championships led by Bourdais’ four and two by Newgarden.

If that wasn’t enough talent, a driver with a record-tying seven NASCAR Cup Series crowns – Jimmie Johnson – will join the virtual race as a “special guest” entrant.

The American Red Cross Grand Prix is the first of six events to be held weekly each Saturday through May 2. The opening event will be followed by others at Barber Motorsports Park (April 4), a “Driver’s Choice” track (April 11), a “Random Draw” track (April 18), Circuit of The Americas (April 25) and a non-INDYCAR “Dream” track (May 2).

Here are “5 Things To Look For…” heading into Saturday’s American Red Cross Grand Prix:

Alexander Rossi

“On The Road Again”

Fan voting through a bracket format voted Watkins Glen International as the first venue “host” of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES has staged 11 actual races at the permanent road course in upstate New York, with the most recent coming in 2017. The sport’s history at Watkins Glen dates to 1979 when Bobby Unser won in a CART-sanctioned event.

The 3.4-mile permanent road course figures to play no particular favorites with only Team Penske’s Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (No. 27 AutoNation/NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) having won actual NTT INDYCAR SERIES races on it among those competing in this virtual field. Rossi won in the series’ last visit in 2017 while Power earned his victory in 2010.

James Hinchcliffe and the American Red Cross

“Sleeves Up”

The opening event was named the American Red Cross Grand Prix to bring awareness to the organization and the efforts to encourage blood donations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this period.

INDYCAR is stepping up to help the American Red Cross, and the sanctioning body is challenging people to join them in rolling up their sleeves to give blood. While blood donation is a safe and secure process, the American Red Cross is taking an abundance of caution, including temperature screening and enhanced disinfecting, to ensure the safety of donors, recipients, volunteers, staff and the blood supply. Patients across the country need your support.

Please help by making an appointment to give blood to the American Red Cross by visiting https://sleevesup.redcrossblood.org/campaign/sleeves-up-with-indycar/. For more information on the American Red Cross, please visit www.redcross.org.

Jimmie Johnson

“New Kids On The Block”

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Ally Chevrolet) was scheduled to test an Indy car April 6 with Arrow McLaren SP at Barber Motorsports Park, but those plans were put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For the time being, he will settle for some virtual racing against the series’ best and may get an opportunity to take on Barber Motorsports Park if he is planning to compete in Round 2 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. Johnson announced that 2020 will be his final NASCAR Cup season and has expressed an interest in possibly participating in the series on road/street courses in the future.

Two-time defending Virgin Australia Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin (No. 2 Shell V-Power Chevrolet) of Team Penske also will be participating in the American Red Cross Grand Prix. McLaughlin has tested an Indy car at Sebring and Circuit of The Americas this year and it was announced by the team in February that he would make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut in the GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course.

When it comes to iRacing, you may want to keep an eye on McLaughlin. He has amassed 497 victories in 1,189 starts, both tops among any of the entrants in the American Red Cross Grand Prix. Of those wins, 178 have come on road courses.

Sage Karam's virtual car design

“The Process”

The starting lineup for the American Red Cross Grand Prix will be set through a 10-minute qualifying session prior to the event that will go green shortly after 4 p.m. The race should last approximately 90 minutes.

In the interest of fairness, iRacing will give all participants the same car setups. Teams will have the ability to design each driver’s car livery to match their desired paint scheme, making them easily recognizable to the viewers.

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.

Will Power

“Power & Speed”

This might be INDYCAR’s first virtual race featuring a full field of its stars, but there are several drivers who could emerge as early favorites given their iRacing experience.

According to iRacing statistics provided this week, Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) has made 1,145 road course starts in the sim game, winning 156 times (13.6 percent). Power’s rate of top-five finishes is an astounding 46.5 percent.

Yet, other drivers have even better marks.

Scott Speed, who will drive Andretti Autosport’s No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda, has won 44.3 percent of his iRacing road course races (71 of 160). Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin (No. 2 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet) has won 33.7 percent (178 of 528). Sage Karam (No. 24 DRR Wix Filters Chevrolet) of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing wins at a 26.9 percent clip (143 of 532).

In terms of career iRacing road-course wins among the entrants, McLaughlin leads the way with 178 and is followed by Power (156) and Karam (143).

Other entrants with more than 100 iRacing road-course starts are Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) with 219, Alex Palou (No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda) with 105, and Santino Ferrucci (No. 18 SealMaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan) with 101.

ABOUT INDYCAR:

INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.

ABOUT iRacing.com:

The world leader in the online racing simulation and gaming market, iRacing was founded in 2004 by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Kaemmer was co-founder of Papyrus Design Group, developers of award-winning racing simulations including “Grand Prix Legends” and NASCAR 2003.” Henry is principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, as well as co-owner of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing. iRacing.com has developed dozens of formal partnerships in the motorsport industry to help create the most authentic racing simulation in the world including with NASCAR, IndyCar, International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, IMSA, World of Outlaws, Mazda Motorsports, McLaren Racing, Williams F1, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, the Skip Barber Racing School and General Motors.

Media contacts

“5 Things To Look For…” heading into
the American Red Cross Grand Prix

American Red Cross Grand Prix
INDIANAPOLIS (March 27, 2020) – The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a virtual racing event featuring a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, begins this weekend with Saturday’s American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

The event, which will last approximately 90 minutes, will be streamed through INDYCAR.com while INDYCAR’s YouTube and Facebook platforms as well as iRacing’s Twitch will serve as additional outlets for viewing. The NBC broadcasting team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy will be calling the action. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by iconic national anthem singer Jim Cornelison adding his voice as he has for the past three Indianapolis 500s.

Click: Entry List

The entry list of 25 drivers includes series champions Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan, four Indianapolis 500 winners and collectively has registered 140 series victories. The Team Penske trio of Newgarden, Pagenaud and Power, along with the A.J. Foyt Racing duo of Bourdais and Kanaan, have combined for nine series championships led by Bourdais’ four and two by Newgarden.

If that wasn’t enough talent, a driver with a record-tying seven NASCAR Cup Series crowns – Jimmie Johnson – will join the virtual race as a “special guest” entrant.

The American Red Cross Grand Prix is the first of six events to be held weekly each Saturday through May 2. The opening event will be followed by others at Barber Motorsports Park (April 4), a “Driver’s Choice” track (April 11), a “Random Draw” track (April 18), Circuit of The Americas (April 25) and a non-INDYCAR “Dream” track (May 2).

Here are “5 Things To Look For…” heading into Saturday’s American Red Cross Grand Prix:

Alexander Rossi

“On The Road Again”

Fan voting through a bracket format voted Watkins Glen International as the first venue “host” of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES has staged 11 actual races at the permanent road course in upstate New York, with the most recent coming in 2017. The sport’s history at Watkins Glen dates to 1979 when Bobby Unser won in a CART-sanctioned event.

The 3.4-mile permanent road course figures to play no particular favorites with only Team Penske’s Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (No. 27 AutoNation/NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) having won actual NTT INDYCAR SERIES races on it among those competing in this virtual field. Rossi won in the series’ last visit in 2017 while Power earned his victory in 2010.

James Hinchcliffe and the American Red Cross

“Sleeves Up”

The opening event was named the American Red Cross Grand Prix to bring awareness to the organization and the efforts to encourage blood donations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this period.

INDYCAR is stepping up to help the American Red Cross, and the sanctioning body is challenging people to join them in rolling up their sleeves to give blood. While blood donation is a safe and secure process, the American Red Cross is taking an abundance of caution, including temperature screening and enhanced disinfecting, to ensure the safety of donors, recipients, volunteers, staff and the blood supply. Patients across the country need your support.

Please help by making an appointment to give blood to the American Red Cross by visiting https://sleevesup.redcrossblood.org/campaign/sleeves-up-with-indycar/. For more information on the American Red Cross, please visit www.redcross.org.

Jimmie Johnson

“New Kids On The Block”

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Ally Chevrolet) was scheduled to test an Indy car April 6 with Arrow McLaren SP at Barber Motorsports Park, but those plans were put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For the time being, he will settle for some virtual racing against the series’ best and may get an opportunity to take on Barber Motorsports Park if he is planning to compete in Round 2 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. Johnson announced that 2020 will be his final NASCAR Cup season and has expressed an interest in possibly participating in the series on road/street courses in the future.

Two-time defending Virgin Australia Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin (No. 2 Shell V-Power Chevrolet) of Team Penske also will be participating in the American Red Cross Grand Prix. McLaughlin has tested an Indy car at Sebring and Circuit of The Americas this year and it was announced by the team in February that he would make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut in the GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course.

When it comes to iRacing, you may want to keep an eye on McLaughlin. He has amassed 497 victories in 1,189 starts, both tops among any of the entrants in the American Red Cross Grand Prix. Of those wins, 178 have come on road courses.

Sage Karam's virtual car design

“The Process”

The starting lineup for the American Red Cross Grand Prix will be set through a 10-minute qualifying session prior to the event that will go green shortly after 4 p.m. The race should last approximately 90 minutes.

In the interest of fairness, iRacing will give all participants the same car setups. Teams will have the ability to design each driver’s car livery to match their desired paint scheme, making them easily recognizable to the viewers.

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.

Will Power

“Power & Speed”

This might be INDYCAR’s first virtual race featuring a full field of its stars, but there are several drivers who could emerge as early favorites given their iRacing experience.

According to iRacing statistics provided this week, Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) has made 1,145 road course starts in the sim game, winning 156 times (13.6 percent). Power’s rate of top-five finishes is an astounding 46.5 percent.

Yet, other drivers have even better marks.

Scott Speed, who will drive Andretti Autosport’s No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda, has won 44.3 percent of his iRacing road course races (71 of 160). Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin (No. 2 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet) has won 33.7 percent (178 of 528). Sage Karam (No. 24 DRR Wix Filters Chevrolet) of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing wins at a 26.9 percent clip (143 of 532).

In terms of career iRacing road-course wins among the entrants, McLaughlin leads the way with 178 and is followed by Power (156) and Karam (143).

Other entrants with more than 100 iRacing road-course starts are Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) with 219, Alex Palou (No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda) with 105, and Santino Ferrucci (No. 18 SealMaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan) with 101.

ABOUT INDYCAR:

INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.

ABOUT iRacing.com:

The world leader in the online racing simulation and gaming market, iRacing was founded in 2004 by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Kaemmer was co-founder of Papyrus Design Group, developers of award-winning racing simulations including “Grand Prix Legends” and NASCAR 2003.” Henry is principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, as well as co-owner of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing. iRacing.com has developed dozens of formal partnerships in the motorsport industry to help create the most authentic racing simulation in the world including with NASCAR, IndyCar, International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, IMSA, World of Outlaws, Mazda Motorsports, McLaren Racing, Williams F1, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, the Skip Barber Racing School and General Motors.

Media contacts

Revised Schedule: Thoughts on a Historic Route to the Championship

Who thought a jigsaw puzzle could be put together a different way? The NTT Indycar Series revised schedule is impressive on several fronts. To change a race date involves many moving pieces- sponsors, promoters, television networks, vendors- all to agree. To move three races to accommodate one big is a feat only Roger Penske could accomplish. Here some of my mostly incoherent thoughts about yesterday’s events.

Could anyone besides Roger Penske pulled this off? Not likely. His connections across auto racing greatly aided everything coming together. Penske and the series took full advantage of the gap left by the postponement of the Olympics to work in the complete Indianapolis 500 program minus one practice day. My thought was when the race was rescheduled that there would be a day of practice, a day of qualifying, a day off then the race. I’m glad the entire schedule stays intact.

There is still some historic tradition left despite how much of the new schedule enters unfamiliar territory. The season starts May 30. 22 times in the past the Indianapolis 500 was the first race of the year. The last time it opened the season was 1957. The 500 has never been run outside of the month of May before. I’m not sure how to deal with May 24 yet.

The inevitable Indycar/NASCAR double header has become a reality a couple of years earlier than I expected. The GMR Grand Prix will run on July 4, the day before the Brickyard 400. The Xfinity series will have the first stock car road race at IMS following the Indycar race. I think this will be the model for future doubleheaders. I don’t think it’s to NASCAR’s advantage to run on an oval after Indycar runs a race the day before on that same track.

If you like all types of racing, the first five days of July will be heaven. Midgets, Indycar, Road to Indy, and NASCAR all at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s the type of race meet Carl Fisher dreamed of.

Could this  be the new date for the GMR Grand Prix in the future? I don’t think so. The May lead in is important to the Speedway. If it is successful, who knows? I think it is worth the consideration. Add the two days in May back to the practice schedule for the Indianapolis 500.

Will the 500 lose another practice day going forward? When the series sees that the cars can get along fine with just three days, I could see the May schedule shrink again. I would hate to see it happen, bet I’m not going to bet against it.

I hope the race at World Wide Technology Raceway the week after the 500 can be moved to NBC. The move would help continue momentum from the 500. I love that the 500 is followed by a short oval. It will be just like the old days when Milwaukee followed Indianapolis.

I’m impressed that  Indycar still has 14 races scheduled. I originally thought 12 was the most that could get in, if any racing occurred at all in 2020. Keep in mind, that nothing is certain as we are still at the mercy of the coronavirus.

Seeing St. Pete at the end of the schedule was a huge surprise. Green Savoree has worked hard to keep this event on the calendar. I know Mayor Kriseman is a big advocate for the race. October is a good time to hold a race in St. Pete. It is before the snowbirds arrive in great numbers. It will also relieve some of the economic hit caused by the abbreviated Spring Break.

Now that an October race is on the schedule, can we keep at least one there in future years? Maybe two?

The thing that doesn’t thrill me about St. Pete is ending the season on a street course. Qualifying is key there, although St. Pete usually jumbles the order with yellows at some point. It really bothers me to award double points for a street race.

Let’s hope that this schedule can run in its entirety. Everyone stay safe and be well.

Indianapolis 500, GMR Grand Prix Moved

104th Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge Rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23

GMR Grand Prix Makes Historic Move to Fourth of July Weekend

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 26, 2020 – The Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge has been rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials from INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) announced today. The 104th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will air live on NBC, with the official green flag time to be announced at a later date.

The GMR Grand Prix will transition to Saturday, July 4 on the IMS road course as part of a historic double-header featuring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NASCAR. This first-of-its-kind racing event also will be televised by NBC on Independence Day.

The Indianapolis 500 was originally scheduled for Sunday, May 24, in its traditional spot on the calendar during Memorial Day weekend. The GMR Grand Prix was scheduled to be run on Saturday, May 9.

“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 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. We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world’s greatest race.”

“Memorial Day weekend has always provided Indianapolis 500 fans an opportunity to honor the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our nation’s freedom,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “This August, we’ll also have a unique and powerful opportunity to honor the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and National Guard members serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. We’re grateful for the patience of our fans as we’ve navigated this situation, and we extend our thanks to NBC for its terrific partnership and diligent work to maximize broadcast coverage with this new schedule.”

On-track action in August will begin at IMS with practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on Aug. 14 and Indianapolis 500 Qualifications on Saturday and Sunday Aug. 15-16. Each day of qualifications will be televised on NBC, providing more network coverage of qualifications for fans than in 2019. A full broadcast schedule will be released soon.

The following week’s schedule will begin with hot pit-stop practice sessions on Thursday, Aug. 20 and include Indy Lights practice and qualifying. The Indy Lights Freedom 100 race, a significantly expanded Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place on Friday, Aug. 21 as part of Miller Lite Carb Day, followed by the public drivers’ meeting and full-field autograph session on Saturday, Aug. 22 as part of Legends Day presented by Firestone.

As a result of the schedule changes at IMS, the INDYCAR races scheduled for Aug. 16 and Aug. 22 have been rescheduled. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is now scheduled for Aug. 9, and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway is now scheduled for Aug. 30. An updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar is available at this link and can also be found at the bottom of this release. 

GMR Grand Prix Makes Historic Move

The GMR Grand Prix will take the green flag Saturday, July 4, before the first NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the IMS road course – the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard. The unique holiday racing lineup will mark the first time that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will compete at the same track on the same weekend as both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Immediately following the live telecast of the GMR Grand Prix on July 4, NBC will air the first NASCAR race on the IMS road course with the Xfinity Series cars in action at the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard.

“For very good reason, this historic pairing will be circled on the calendar of every motorsports fan,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “We appreciate our friends at NASCAR for their flexibility and support in this matter and will work with them on a memorable, exciting weekend of racing action.”

Tickets already purchased for the Indianapolis 500, GMR Grand Prix and associated on-track days such as Miller Lite Carb Day and Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend will be valid on the rescheduled dates. Individuals already in possession of those tickets should use them for entry. To learn more about the adjusted on-track schedule, review customer FAQ’s and submit questions, fans can visit www.ims.com/COVID19.

Important Indy 500 Race Weekend Concert Update

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 decision was made to provide the maximum flexibility possible to complete the Indianapolis 500 by Sunday, Aug. 23 and provide room for any contingency plans necessary. IMS appreciates the understanding of fans and regrets that the COVID-19 situation has caused the cancellation of these events.

Fans who made concert-specific purchases will be able to access a credit for any IMS event, including the Indy 500, or choose to receive a refund. IMS concert customers will receive further communication on how to exercise their ticketing options.

Enhanced Health and Safety Measures at IMS

IMS and INDYCAR officials will continue to work closely with local, state and federal health representatives to ensure a safe and healthy experience for spectators. Enhanced measures that will be in place once activity resumes at IMS include:

•Increasing housekeeping staff at the track to elevate frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces

•Using cleaning products that meet current EPA and CDC guidelines for registered disinfectants to be used against COVID-19

•Educating all employees on CDC prevention guidance, including proper handwashing technique and requesting that all vendors communicate strict hygiene protocol to staff

•Increasing public hand-sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas, containing sanitizer that meets or exceeds the CDC standard for alcohol content

•Reducing required hand-to-hand interactions between customers and staff at concession areas and other key IMS locations

Updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Schedule

Saturday, May 30 

Streets of Detroit Race 1 

Sunday, May 31

Streets of Detroit Race 2 

Saturday, June 6

Texas Motor Speedway 

Sunday, June 21

Road America 

Saturday, June 27

Richmond Raceway 

Saturday, July 4

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course 

Sunday, July 12

Streets of Toronto 

Saturday, July 18

Iowa Speedway 

Sunday, Aug. 9

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 

Sunday, Aug. 23

Indianapolis 500 Mile Race 

Sunday, Aug. 30 

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway

Sunday, Sept. 13

Portland International Raceway 

Sunday, Sept. 20

WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca 

TBD Expected Finale

Streets of St. Petersburg

104th Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge Rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23

GMR Grand Prix Makes Historic Move to Fourth of July Weekend

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 26, 2020 – The Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge has been rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials from INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) announced today. The 104th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will air live on NBC, with the official green flag time to be announced at a later date.

The GMR Grand Prix will transition to Saturday, July 4 on the IMS road course as part of a historic double-header featuring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NASCAR. This first-of-its-kind racing event also will be televised by NBC on Independence Day.

The Indianapolis 500 was originally scheduled for Sunday, May 24, in its traditional spot on the calendar during Memorial Day weekend. The GMR Grand Prix was scheduled to be run on Saturday, May 9.

“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 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. We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world’s greatest race.”

“Memorial Day weekend has always provided Indianapolis 500 fans an opportunity to honor the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our nation’s freedom,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “This August, we’ll also have a unique and powerful opportunity to honor the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and National Guard members serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. We’re grateful for the patience of our fans as we’ve navigated this situation, and we extend our thanks to NBC for its terrific partnership and diligent work to maximize broadcast coverage with this new schedule.”

On-track action in August will begin at IMS with practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on Aug. 14 and Indianapolis 500 Qualifications on Saturday and Sunday Aug. 15-16. Each day of qualifications will be televised on NBC, providing more network coverage of qualifications for fans than in 2019. A full broadcast schedule will be released soon.

The following week’s schedule will begin with hot pit-stop practice sessions on Thursday, Aug. 20 and include Indy Lights practice and qualifying. The Indy Lights Freedom 100 race, a significantly expanded Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place on Friday, Aug. 21 as part of Miller Lite Carb Day, followed by the public drivers’ meeting and full-field autograph session on Saturday, Aug. 22 as part of Legends Day presented by Firestone.

As a result of the schedule changes at IMS, the INDYCAR races scheduled for Aug. 16 and Aug. 22 have been rescheduled. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is now scheduled for Aug. 9, and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway is now scheduled for Aug. 30. An updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar is available at this link and can also be found at the bottom of this release. 

GMR Grand Prix Makes Historic Move

The GMR Grand Prix will take the green flag Saturday, July 4, before the first NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the IMS road course – the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard. The unique holiday racing lineup will mark the first time that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will compete at the same track on the same weekend as both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Immediately following the live telecast of the GMR Grand Prix on July 4, NBC will air the first NASCAR race on the IMS road course with the Xfinity Series cars in action at the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard.

“For very good reason, this historic pairing will be circled on the calendar of every motorsports fan,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “We appreciate our friends at NASCAR for their flexibility and support in this matter and will work with them on a memorable, exciting weekend of racing action.”

Tickets already purchased for the Indianapolis 500, GMR Grand Prix and associated on-track days such as Miller Lite Carb Day and Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend will be valid on the rescheduled dates. Individuals already in possession of those tickets should use them for entry. To learn more about the adjusted on-track schedule, review customer FAQ’s and submit questions, fans can visit www.ims.com/COVID19.

Important Indy 500 Race Weekend Concert Update

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 decision was made to provide the maximum flexibility possible to complete the Indianapolis 500 by Sunday, Aug. 23 and provide room for any contingency plans necessary. IMS appreciates the understanding of fans and regrets that the COVID-19 situation has caused the cancellation of these events.

Fans who made concert-specific purchases will be able to access a credit for any IMS event, including the Indy 500, or choose to receive a refund. IMS concert customers will receive further communication on how to exercise their ticketing options.

Enhanced Health and Safety Measures at IMS

IMS and INDYCAR officials will continue to work closely with local, state and federal health representatives to ensure a safe and healthy experience for spectators. Enhanced measures that will be in place once activity resumes at IMS include:

•Increasing housekeeping staff at the track to elevate frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces

•Using cleaning products that meet current EPA and CDC guidelines for registered disinfectants to be used against COVID-19

•Educating all employees on CDC prevention guidance, including proper handwashing technique and requesting that all vendors communicate strict hygiene protocol to staff

•Increasing public hand-sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas, containing sanitizer that meets or exceeds the CDC standard for alcohol content

•Reducing required hand-to-hand interactions between customers and staff at concession areas and other key IMS locations

Updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Schedule

Saturday, May 30 

Streets of Detroit Race 1 

Sunday, May 31

Streets of Detroit Race 2 

Saturday, June 6

Texas Motor Speedway 

Sunday, June 21

Road America 

Saturday, June 27

Richmond Raceway 

Saturday, July 4

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course 

Sunday, July 12

Streets of Toronto 

Saturday, July 18

Iowa Speedway 

Sunday, Aug. 9

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 

Sunday, Aug. 23

Indianapolis 500 Mile Race 

Sunday, Aug. 30 

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway

Sunday, Sept. 13

Portland International Raceway 

Sunday, Sept. 20

WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca 

TBD Expected Finale

Streets of St. Petersburgv