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.
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.
“We think Aug. 15 and 16 for qualifying, Aug. 23 for the 500-mile race is a great solution,” Miles said. “All three of those on-track activities, the two days of qualifying and the 500 itself, will be live on NBC. Actually, we have more live television over the three weekends than we did even last year.
“We’re grateful to all of our partners who worked with us on this. NBC has been incredibly helpful with working on it. We think we’ve landed in a good place.”
The decision to move the Indy 500 was made exactly 150 days before the start of the rescheduled 104th Indianapolis 500.
“I’m relieved, along with most of our fans, to know that the Indianapolis 500 is in a spot where it is more sure it will be run this year,” Boles explained. “The 500 itself is an event that people look forward to every year, they plan their lives around every year. I know it is an important one. I’m thankful for those fans who will be following us to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August.
“I can’t wait for The Greatest Spectacle in Racing to take place.”
While the Indianapolis 500 will be three months later than normal, the move of the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis to July 4 creates the first IndyCar/NASCAR doubleheader.
“It’s a huge weekend for us,” Miles said. “It’s so important to us. It’s on its way back (the Brickyard 400). I think this kind of groundbreaking opportunity to bring our grand prix and get Indy cars on the track on Saturday just before the Xfinity race is a huge opportunity.
“I think it will get more IndyCar fans out here for a weekend they might or might not have attended in the past. I think there is going to be some really exciting news about who is driving sometime in the future. It’s just going to be a big, big weekend.”
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, the GMR IndyCar Classic at Circuit of The Americas and the Detroit Grand Prix will not be run this year.
However, IndyCar announced the addition of a third race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, which will take place Oct. 3 on the IMS road course.
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be scheduled in October as the season finale.
In order to create a full Indy 500 schedule, including practice and qualifications, Green Savoree Promotions changed the date of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course from Aug. 16 to Aug. 9.
The race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway moved from Aug. 22 to Aug. 30 and the Labor Day weekend race at Portland (Ore.) Int’l Raceway was pushed back to Sept. 13.
There is no bigger name in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history than A.J. Foyt. At age 85, the first four-time Indy 500 winner continues to field two full-time NTT IndyCar Series entries.
“Running the Indianapolis 500 in August is something I never experienced before, but all I can say is it will still be the Indy 500,” Foyt said. “I never thought we’d see it like this, but all of the sports field has been affected, the Olympics, the Kentucky Derby, Le Mans, so we’re not the only ones affected by this — we’re just one of them. I’m just glad that we will be able to race. IndyCar is trying to do the best they can for the fans and the competitors, so I give them a lot of credit.
“It’s a shame Roger (Penske) has to go through this in his first year of owning Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but you couldn’t have a better man in charge.”