August 2020 News
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INDY 500 Will Be Closed To Spectators

Aug 4 - The Indy Speedway announced today that no
spectators would be allowed in for the 104th Indy 500.
This includes all practice and qualifying days as well.

According to their statement, the reason is that "the
number of cases in Marion County has tripled while the
positivity rate has doubled. We said from the beginning of
the pandemic we would put the health and safety of our
community first, and while hosting spectators at a limited
capacity with our robust plan in place was appropriate in
late June, it is not the right path forward based on the
current environment."

At least there is a silver lining...

The 104th Indy 500 will still take place this month and race
fans can watch practices, qualifying and the race on

All of the action from IMS can be viewed via NBC Sports
Gold, NBCSN or NBC.

Indy 500 Broadcast Schedule
Local Fans Get to Watch Race Live on TV

Central Indiana fans will also be able to watch the race live
on television.  This will be the second time in 5 years.

In 2016, the 100th Indy 500 was broadcast live locally.  
This was allowed because the race was sold-out.

The race has always been blacked out in Indianapolis to
encourage local fans to attend, except in 1949.

That was the first year the race was broadcast and was
shown live locally.  That was also the last time, at least for
66 years.

The race always airs on local television in the evening, after
the race is over.  Many people who attend the race, watch
the race later at home.  (I seem to remember having to wait
about a month after the race was over, to watch it on TV in
the 70s.)

Even though the race was shown live in 2016, it was still
re-aired later that day, as it will again this year!

The 1949 broadcast was on Indianapolis’ first TV station,
WFBM (Channel 6).  They aired about 40 minutes of the
final day of qualifying and on Race Day, offered coverage
of the entire race using three cameras.  Local trial lawyer,
Earl Townsend, was the announcer.  He was assisted by
two color commentators.
The Famous INDY 500 Radio Broadcasts

I have heard numerous stories from people who have only
been able to listen to the race via radio.
For instance, US soldiers stationed abroad, have for
decades been momentarily "Back Home Again" as they
gathered around a radio to listen to the race.  Hard-
working farm families, from grandpa to junior, gather
under a shade tree each year to picnic and listen to the
race, using their imaginations in place of video.  Fans
fascinated by America and the Indy 500, listen to the race
each year from the outback of Australia to Vietnam to

In 2014, nearly 11 million Americans listened to
the race via radio.

It just goes to show that the people who attend the race are
not the only ones who enjoy a Indy 500 tradition!
Indy 500 Purse Drops

Aug 4 - Due to the lack of revenue that would typically come from fan attendance – from ticket sales to camping, parking,
concessions and other items – as well as the general financial hit all season long due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s
Indy 500 purse has been nearly cut in half. Back on Feb. 14,
Roger Penske announced he was adding $2 million to this
year’s purse on top of last year’s total of $13.09 million to reach $15 million – the largest ever in the race’s history.

The revised purse will total just over $7.5 million, and this year’s winner will be promised just over $1 million. In 2019,
Simon Pagenaud took home $2,669,529 in race winnings from his first-ever 500 victory.
New Vette Is "500" Pace Car

Aug 12 - As I hoped and expected, the new mid-engine
Corvette will be the Indy 500 Pace Car.  What I didn't
expect was that the race would be held in August and
closed to the public!  Looks like I'll have to wait longer
before I get to see one of these cars in person.

The Pace Car will be driven by GM President Mark Reuss.

This marks the 17th time a Corvette has served as the Pace
Car, starting in 1978, and the 31st time a Chevrolet has led
the field dating to 1948 when a Fleetmaster Six convertible
held the honor.

No other brand or vehicle has served as the “500” Pace Car
more often than Chevrolet and the Corvette, respectively.

The Torch Red 2020 Corvette Stingray Pace Car features:

*    All-new mid-engine LT2 6.2L V8 engine
*    8-Speed Dual Clutch transmission
*    Z51 performance package
*    Corvette accessory spoiler and ground effects package
*    Carbon Flash exterior accents and badge package
*    GT2 Bucket Seats
*    Unique Indy 500 Livery

With 495 horsepower, the Torch Red Corvette Stingray
can accelerate from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, capable of 194
mph. It has been named MotorTrend Car of the Year for

Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural
500-mile race, and company co-founder Louis Chevrolet,
along with brothers Arthur and Gaston, competed in early
Indy 500s. Arthur competed in the 1911 race and Gaston
won in 1920.
Pace Car Driver
GM President Mark Reuss
Wednesday Aug 12th                              DAY 1                  Rookie and Veteran Practice
Aug 12
Aug 13
Aug 14
Aug 15
Aug 16
Aug 21
Aug 23
Opening Day
Practice Day
Fast Friday
1st Day of Time Trials
Time Trials - Pole Day
Carb Day
Indy 500 Race Day

The opening practice day saw the first use of the aero-
screen on the Indy oval track.

Three practice sessions were ran on a warm overcast day
at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The first two-hour session was for full-time IndyCar drivers
who have competed in the Indy 500 before.

There were no wrecks.  The Hondas of
Marco Andretti
and Graham Rahal had their cars shut off due to
electrical problems, and rolled into the pits.

The second two-hour session was for rookie orientation.  
It was also a refresher for Indy 500 veteran who had not
been in an IndyCar this year, such as
Fernando Alonso.

Four rookies completed the three stages of orientation during
that session -
Rinus VeeKay, Alex Palou, Oliver Askew
Pato O'Ward.

Then there was a final 2.5 hour session that included

James Hinchcliffe posted the fastest lap of the day at
224.526 mph.

Tony Kanaan was the slowest and the only driver not to
exceed 219 mph.

Marcus Ericsson ran 129 laps, the most of any driver.
Aug 12
Aug 13
James Hinchcliffe
Scott Dixon
224.526 mph
226.102 mph
Aug 13
Fernando Alonso
He crashed in Turn 4
He's ok
James Hinchcliffe was Fastest
Example of Tear-Off Strips for Aeroscreen
Colton Herta
8-12 - Opening Day
8-13 - Practice Day
8-14 - Fast Friday
8-15 - 1st Day of Time Trials
8-16 - Time Trials - Pole Day
8-21 - Carb Day
8-23 - Race Day
Thursday Aug 13th                         DAY 2                                PRACTICE
There were two practice session on another warm overcast
day in Indianapolis.  

Takuma Sato was fastest in the first session.  Scott Dixon
turned a lap in 39.805 seconds late in the day to secure the
fastest lap of the day - 226.102 mph.

Max Chilton had the slowest time today - 221.147 mph.

Marcus Ericsson drove 252 laps, the most of anyone.

Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando
Alonso turned 155 Laps today.  At 4:40 p.m. – 50 minutes
before the end of practice –
he clipped the inside apron in
Turn 4 sending him high into the corner where his car made
contact with
the outside wall.  He then slid across the track
and down into the pitlane, coming to rest against the inside
wall.  His car suffered moderate damage to the right side,
but Alonso was ok.  Coincidentally, he was also the first
person to crash last year, also on the second day of practice.

Ben Hanley completed the first phase of his refresher test
after practice today.  He will attempt to finish the final
phase during practice Friday.
Dario Franchiti and old pal Scott Dixon
Walking through Gasoline Alley
Takuma Sato was 2nd Fastest today
Sage Karam's livery is one of my favorites.
I like Conor Daly's livery too.
Marco Andretti's Car
The nose of Santino Ferrucci's car
Helio Castroneves' livery takes me back to 1980
and Lone Star JR's Indy winning Chaparral!