Amid COVID-19 Virus Scare Indianapolis 500 Scheduled To Run On May 24
Roger Penske
Aug 18, 2019; Long Pond, PA, USA; Team owner Roger Penske looks on during the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Indianapolis 500 Update

Sunday night, the CDC urged event organizers to either cancel or postpone mass gatherings for the next two months. Accordingly, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series released a joint statement early Monday, reaffirming its intent to run the Indianapolis 500 on May 24th, contingent on the nationwide and global impact of the COVID-19 virus.

The current CDC’s guidance was for all in-person events with 50 or more people to be canceled or postponed. Last Thursday, the series canceled the first four races of the year at St. Peter, Barber, Circuit of the Americas, and Long Beach. However, they left open the possibility to reschedule the first three races and are working with the Long Beach promoters and city officials to resurrect that event on a later date.

Sportsbooks such as Bet MGM continue to take wagers on the event, while the latest in-state betting information can be found at Currently, Alexander Rossi is the favorite at 7-1, with Scott Dixon at 8-1, and defending 2019 Champion Simon Pagenaud at 10-1.

In front of the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, track owner Roger Penske announced that the prize purse would be increased to $17-million, the highest in the event’s history and over $2-million more than last year. The winner of the race will be guaranteed at least $2 million, with additional money awarded for the pole and laps leaders.

On Monday, Roger Penske, owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said,

“We are aware of the CDC’s interim guidance suggesting the postponement of events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks. Our priority is to do our part in protecting the public health while still conducting the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge as scheduled on May 24th. This continues to be a dynamic situation in which we are constantly monitoring in coordination with federal, state, local, and public health officials. We are planning for all contingencies and will be prepared to run the GMR Grand Prix and Indy 500 as the COVID-19 situation permits.”

NASCAR Postpones Five More Races

NASCAR reported today that it will postpone five more races as it complies with the CDC recommendations regarding the global COVID-19 outbreak. NBC Sports reported that NASCAR intends to open the season at Martinsville Speedway on May 8th if possible.

A NASCAR spokesperson said on Monday,

“In accordance with recent CDC guidance, NASCAR is currently postponing all race events through May 3rd, with plans to return racing in Martinsville. We appreciate the patience of our fans, and we look forward to returning to the racetrack. We intend to hold all 36 races this season.”

NASCAR Ends Testing

In a rules bulletin issued yesterday, officials at NASCAR announced that “due to unprecedented events” all racecar testing had been suspended until further notice. This suspension included climatic tunnels, full- and scale- wind tunnel tests, K&C rigs, and driver simulators. The simulator ban includes those used by all manufacturers but does not extend to digital iRacing.

A NASCAR spokesperson said,

“This policy will give the industry a chance to be socially conscious and not feel like they’re putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.”

It’s not immediately clear how this suspension is related to the Next Gen race car. Next Gen is scheduled to debut in 2021, and lead driver Clint Bowyer was to test the car Monday and Tuesday of this week in Atlanta.