IndyCar prioritising Indianapolis 500 but no postponement yet

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IndyCar CEO Mark Miles says ensuring the Indianapolis 500 takes place in 2020 is the series' "highest priority".

So far, IndyCar has cancelled or postponed the first four rounds of this year, meaning the GMR Grand Prix on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is currently the first scheduled race on May 9.

Two weeks later, the 500 itself is due to take place and the series is determined that 'the greatest spectacle in motor racing' will go ahead.

"What I can say is that organising the 104th Indianapolis 500 mile race is our highest priority," Miles told the AFP.

"Our objective is to stay the course for now and to see if it's possible to do it as scheduled mid-May.

"If that's not possible we'll find another date but that's a decision we'll come to when it's clear what the future looks like."

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His commitment comes as other series are now targeting the summer to begin their 2020 schedules and the IndyCar chief realises even a limited Indy 500 would still be a crowded one.

"It's just too early to know what's possible," he said. "No one really knows when the conditions will return to the point where we will do racing or sports again.

"Just to have a race, we probably have to have 2,000 people just to make it possible [even behind closed doors] without fans.

"Everyone is making contingency plans, and you're just talking about sports," he added. "What's possible depends on when normal life can resume."

The reason for putting Indianapolis above the rest of the calendar is the sheer economic impact of the one race which attracts the biggest audience globally.

“The cancellation of the Indianapolis 500 would probably put the smaller teams out of business,” ex-F1 driver Derek Daly stated.

 

“Teams like Penske, Ganassi, Andretti and Ed Carpenter Racing would survive, but the smaller teams depend so much on drivers bringing cash, and that would be off.

"Without the Indy 500, 90 per cent of sponsors wouldn’t be in the IndyCar Series. The Indianapolis 500 is that big, and drives that much value."

The father of current IndyCar racer Conor Daly though does think the CEO should be looking at rescheduling.

“Mark Miles has to be thinking about an alternative date for the Indy 500,” he added. “I think the cities of Indianapolis and Speedway will do whatever it takes to try to re-schedule the race if need be.”

As for the rest of the season, Miles has suggested double-headers, potentially on the same weekend could take place to make up for lost events.

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