Due to the COVOID-19 going around this world, the racing world has been greatly affected. Right now, everything has been halted. But, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced on Tuesday schedule updates for three 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge events.
- The Acura Sports Car Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio has been moved to the weekend of Sept. 25-27, 2020. It was originally scheduled for the weekend of May 1-3.
- The IMSA Monterey SportsCar Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca has been moved up one weekend to run on Sept. 4-6. It was originally scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 11-13. This date adjustment was made to accommodate IMSA competitors planning to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which now will run on Sept. 19-20.
- The 23rdannual Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta has been moved back one week and now will run Oct. 14-17 to provide teams a more balanced schedule as the season comes to its conclusion. The original dates of the event were Oct. 7-10.
These three event date changes are in addition to the previously announced reschedule of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, which now is set for Nov. 11-14. Previously purchased tickets for all four events will be valid on the new dates.
At this point, the 2020 IMSA season will resume on the streets of Belle Isle on May 30.
Also, on Monday, Formula One announced that they not only postponed the race in early June at Azerbaijan, but did say too that when they do return to action, their plan is to race 16-18 events and do so by going in December. Right now, 14 races are on the schedule unaffected with another eight being postponed or canceled. If they run 16-18, then 4-6 races will be canceled at the end of this. So far, Australia, Bahrain, China, Vietnam, Netherlands, Spain, Monaco and Azerbaijan have been called off. Out of those races, we know that Australia and Monaco are canceled and won’t run this year. Out of the other six, if all goes to plan, 2-4 of them will get to run while the rest will be shut down too.
See, these racing series’ are having to adapt. The annual summer break for F1 is actually being used now. They plan to race through that original three week gap to make up some of these races.
Their start as of now is June 14 in Montreal. The second race though is the French Grand Prix (June 28) but that race is in doubt because the 24 Hours of Le Mans has already been postponed to September and that race was slated to run a week prior to F1’s visit. From there, it’s to Austria (July 5), England (July 19) and Hungary (Aug. 2) before three full weeks off. Those three weeks will be used to fill some gaps, so can those gaps between Austria and England and England and Hungary.
On Tuesday, NHRA announced their plans as they will start on June 5-7 with a makeup date for the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Their revised schedule will consist of 19 races, 17 of them being when we get back going in June. Their biggest difference is there’s no more Countdown in 2020, they’ll just run the season on points accumulated throughout the entire year.
Also, NASCAR and Indy Car can now use the postponed 2020 Olympics gap to stage races too. Both series were observing the Olympics because the world games were scheduled to be aired on NBC Networks. With that part of the year having both series run on NBC Sports, it made the most sense for them to take a break. But, they now can run races as NASCAR had the weekend of July 24-26 and Aug. 1-2 off. IndyCar, had the weekends of July 24-26, Aug. 1-2 and Aug. 7-9 off.
NASCAR at this point has postponed seven races (Atlanta, Homestead, Texas, Bristol, Richmond, Talladega and Dover) with IndyCar four (St. Pete, Barber, Long Beach and COTA). Two of those four IndyCar races have been canceled leaving only two races available which those three off weeks this summer can help tremendously.
NASCAR, has fill in two races then and pad some more later. See, they said via a teleconference last week that their plan is to have the playoff races be unaffected as the final 10 weeks will consist of the same tracks that are already scheduled. They won’t run doubleheaders for them either. So, to make up seven races and only having two off weeks now to fill in, they’ll have to be creative. They will likely move the season back, but by five weeks? Do they use week night races? They almost certainly will have to at some point.
This is all if things go to plan from here on out which seems like it won’t. NASCAR and IndyCar are supposed to resume in early May but I don’t know how that’s going to happen. The CDC has warned to avoid groups of more than 10 between now and May 8-10. Both are trying to race that weekend. With the cases growing by the day here in the United States, I can see this getting pushed back.
I mean, all the IndyCar teams are becoming affected by stay at home orders. The NASCAR teams in North Carolina are starting to go through the same thing. Plus, we already know that the stick and ball sports aren’t likely going to be playing in May anyways. The NBA is eyeing a June restart. The MLB says that even if they get the green light to return to action in May, it will take 3-4 weeks of practice and training again to start their season, meaning they won’t start until June.
The NCAA has canceled their seasons. Schools are closed at all levels. Do you really think that the Month of May at Indianapolis will be able to run?
Right now, the plan if for NASCAR and IndyCar to resume on May 9. IMSA on May 30., NHRA on June 7 and Formula One on June 14.