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Indianapolis 500 postponed until Aug. 23

Ryan Hunter Reay guides his car arcoss the finish line in front of the pagoda-style center at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 25, 2014.
Ryan Hunter Reay guides his car arcoss the finish line in front of the pagoda-style center at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 25, 2014.
(Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

The Indianapolis 500, scheduled for May 24, has been postponed until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.

The race has been rescheduled for Aug. 23.

The Indianapolis 500 began in 1911 but did not run in 1917 and 1918 and 1941-45 because of World Wars I and II. Tony Hulman bought the neglected speedway after the second war, and the Indy 500 returned Memorial Day weekend of 1946. It’s been scheduled for that weekend every year since.

Although weather disrupted the prestigious race before Thursday, it had never been outright rescheduled.

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It was likely an inevitable decision but still had to be difficult for Roger Penske, who completed his purchase of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar in January and had already pumped millions into capital improvements to ready the historic venue for its first 500 under new ownership.

Penske had been eagerly anticipating the May 15 start to the IndyCar season, but he had to suspend the series 48 hours before the scheduled opener when the coronavirus was categorized as a pandemic.

Four races were initially scrapped — the street course events in downtown Long Beach as well as in St. Petersburg, Fla., will not be rescheduled — and, at the time, IndyCar said it would resume racing May 9 on the road course at Indianapolis.

But that race will now be run on July 4, a day before NASCAR races at the Brickyard.

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