Kurt Verlin
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IndyCar Postpones First Four Races of 2020

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Honda's Colton Herta leads the 2019 IndyCar finale at Laguna Seca
Photo: Honda

IndyCar has announced that the first four events of the 2020 calendar will be postponed due to the ongoing concerns over COVID-19, including the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg that was originally scheduled to take place this weekend.

The other suspended events are the Grand Prix of Alabama (originally to be held on April 5), the Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 19), and the IndyCar Challenge at the Circuit of the Americas (April 26).

Testing is also banned until May 10, which eliminates another five scheduled dates from the teams’ calendars. This includes open and private tests as well as straight-line tests, wind tunnel tests, and also prevents Honda and Chevrolet — the series’s engine suppliers — from performing engine tests.

“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,” IndyCar said in an official statement. “We will continue to coordinate with public health experts and government officials as we determine the appropriate plans for resuming our schedule.”

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The season is thus expected to resume on May 9 at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, which uses the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course, but even that seems optimistic. Given that it seems the pandemic is only getting started, it’s hard to believe that it will all be over in the next six to eight weeks.

It’s more likely that the Indy 500, which would normally be held on May 24, will also not take place, though officials will certainly try their hardest to reschedule it. Without the Indy 500, there may as well not be an IndyCar season, but no one will want to host it if only half the teams attend or, worse, the grandstands are virtually empty.

But rescheduling a race is logistically difficult, and not always possible. Long Beach, for example, looked to reschedule in September but, after failing to do so, announced the Grand Prix would not just be suspended but cancelled entirely.

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