Start, IndyCar, St Petersburg, 2019

IndyCar delays start of season until May, NASCAR calls off two races


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IndyCar has delayed the start of its 2020 season, calling off the first four races of the year.

The championship was due to begin at the St Petersburg circuit in Florida. Yesterday the series announced the race would be held without spectators due to the threat from the Coronavirus, but the series has now taken the decision to cancel the race entirely.

The Long Beach race promoter had already announced yesterday its April race would not go ahead. IndyCar’s announcement means the races at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on April 5th and the Circuit of the Americas in Texas on April 26th, are also off.

The first race on the championship’s schedule now is the Indianapolis grand prix on the road circuit at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, two weeks before the Indianapolis 500.

“After careful consideration, including regular communication with our event promoters, health officials, and the city administrations in our respective race markets regarding Covid-19, we have made the decision to cancel all NTT IndyCar Series events through April,” the championship announced.

“Although we are disappointed to delay the start to this IndyCar season and will miss our incredible fans who support us each year in St Petersburg, Birmingham, Long Beach, and Austin, the safety of our fans, participants, staff, partners, and media will always remain our top priority. We will continue to coordinate with public health experts and government officials as we determine the appropriate plans for resuming our schedule.”

NASCAR, which yesterday also announced two races would be held behind closed doors, has also cancelled those two race dates. The championship intends to postpone the events at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which was due to take place this weekend, and Homestead-Miami Speedway, originally scheduled for the weekend after. Its next race will be at Texas Motor Speedway in March 29th.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “IndyCar delays start of season until May, NASCAR calls off two races”

  1. So no plans to reschedule these races to later in the year? Indycar has already a relatively short season (ending in September) and now only 13 races (including one double header). For them I think they really do not like to cancel or postpone the 500 if possible. But having a season for only 5 months…. They can easily reschedule the latter part of the season into October and even November with some of the races (like Austin, St Pete and Long Beach).

    1. Such a bummer that we have to wait until May! Hopefully they can re-schedule some of the permanent courses. Get some testing going so we can see something happening until May.

  2. Today truly was Friday the 13th for motorsport.

    1. @phylyp Indeed. Friday the 13th at its worst (or best).

  3. Jason Tomlinson
    13th March 2020, 18:14

    NOOOO… Please don’t cancel the Indy 500 this year. This was going to be my first year that i was going to be able to attend the 500. I moved from nevada to illinois for a business venture and i was about 4-5 hours away from the speedway. i guess there is always next year. This really is having a huge affect on all other the racing this year. I just hope that the whole year for certain series’s isn’t cancelled like formula E

  4. As a NASCAR fan I wanted to give you guys a little bit of an insight of what happened on our side.

    Wednesday afternoon everything was fine. Then it was announced that fan interaction with drivers would be limited, there would be a 6 foot buffer zone and all of the fan activities would be canceled.

    A little bit later on it was rumoured NASCAR was going to be meeting on Thursday to discuss everything going forward.

    Thursday morning it was announced NASCAR would be making a announcement regarding the next two races at 1:00pm Eastern. Postponement seemed inevitable. A little after 1 it was announced the races would be going ahead but with no fans in the grandstands.

    Then bombshell a few hours later the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Championship (Known as March Madness) was canceled. This is a big deal in the US and it’s rumoured NASCAR really regretted their decision at that point regarding their races.

    Friday morning around 10:00am it was announced the change of schedule. The top Cup and Xfinity (NASCAR’s F2 Series) would be run on Saturday (Rain was expected on Sunday which originally would’ve been the Cup race.) The Truck Series race originally to be run after the Xfinity race on Saturday would be run Friday evening. In addition all three series would not be practicing they would qualify and then race.

    Roughly an hour later rumours begin swirling of postponement and just before noon NASCAR announced both Atlanta and Homestead weekends would be postponed.

    1. Thursday morning it was announced NASCAR would be making a announcement regarding the next two races at 1:00pm Eastern

      @ckyriazis2006 – maybe the NASCAR guys should teach FOM how to make timely announcements in advance.

      Chase Carey has been using the phrase “fluid situation” to the point of nausea, but I think the sequence of events you outline demonstrate a truly fluid response to a fluid situation. One cannot fault them for repeatedly changing their decision, quite the contrary. They kept revising their decisions as the situation progressed. Very cool.

  5. @phylyp

    The thing with the US, is that nearly every major sports organization cancelled Or postponed all at roughly the same time from Wednesday on.

    March Madness was cancelled after the individual NCAA conferences started canceling their tournaments and universities were suspending their spring sports programs. I don’t know what it’s like in Europe, but a lot of the universities and colleges here have turned completely online told their students to stay home after spring break.

    I can’t fully fault Liberty and F1 for waiting this long as even IndyCar didn’t Arcel St Petersburg until after the teams alphas already arrived. How they did though is the issue.

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