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Indy 500 postponed until August 23 because of coronavirus pandemic

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A fan waits as rain delays the final portion of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 19, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indianapolis 500 is postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is now scheduled for August 23.

INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

The official green flag time will 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.

Every year since 1946, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Speedway during Memorial Day weekend for the largest single-day sporting event in the world, but the coronavirus pandemic has turned the traditional sports schedule upside down.

The Indy 500 joins numerous other sporting events forced to reschedule because of the coronavirus crisis.

Since the inaugural race was held in 1911, the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” has only been put on hiatus twice. The first occasion was from 1917 to 1918 because of World War I, and the second time was from 1942 to 1945 due to World War II.

This year the race was originally scheduled for Sunday, May 24.

As most every fan knows, the race is the big event at the end of a month-long celebration in Indianapolis. On March 18, the 500 Festival announced the suspension of all in-person events through May 9, including the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. That event is now a “virtual race.” The 500 Festival says registered runners will receive details on how to participate virtually and still earn their 2020 shirt and medal.

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