INDIANAPOLIS — We didn’t know it then, but NASCAR’s radical changes to the 2020 schedule mixed with of all things, the coronavirus, helped speed up the NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader race weekend.
On Thursday, that news was confirmed to happen. Due to the coronavirus, the NTT IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had to move back the Month of May festivities to a new date. Now, the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place almost three months to the day later, going from May 24 to Aug. 23.
The GMR Grand Prix though shifts to the 4th of July weekend, July 4 to be exact. The reasoning? NASCAR is in town then. That schedule change, remember?
The 27th Brickyard 400 will now take place on Sunday, July 5 this year. The Pennzoil 150, the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, well that will run Saturday, July 4. But, this year’s NXS race will be different than ever before too. Back in January, NASCAR and IMS officials announced a move for that race from the oval to the road course, starting immediately.
That move is what allowed IndyCar to move their road course race on the same 2.439-mile layout from May 9 to July 4. With NBC Sports airing IndyCar’s full season and NASCAR’s second half of their year, it was a match made in heaven.
NBC will air both races on the same day on the same track from two separate series. Think of the positive exposure for all three sides (IndyCar, NASCAR and IMS).
This weekend gets the flavor back as you can have a lot of cross promotion. Heck, we may even see some drivers pull the daily double.
But, this move doesn’t happen without NASCAR moving their annual summer class on the 4th of July weekend from Daytona to Indy and the pandemic going around this world right now.
While this was being discussed for the future, odds are we wouldn’t have seen this until at the very soonest 2022.
Also with a byproduct of this, the entire racing world will be set on Indianapolis. Not only do we have the NTT IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series, but all three ladders of the Road to Indy (USF2000, Indy Pro 2000, Indy Lights) to go along with the doubleheader nights of the BC39 will be here too.
The BC 39 will run July 1-2. The Road To Indy will run July 2-3. On July 4 you get the AMR Grand Prix (Indy Car) and Pennzoil 150 (NASCAR Xfinity Series) followed by the Brickyard 400 (NASCAR Cup Series) to close the weekend on July 5.