FORT WORTH, Texas — IndyCar has gotten the green flag to finally start its season with a night race June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway without spectators.
The race was the next one on the series schedule that hadn’t been postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. IndyCar and track officials announced revised scheduled details Thursday, heavy with safety precautions.
That schedule.has races through Oct. 3 but no mention of a rescheduled Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was to be the season opener March 15 but was called off because of the virus. In a version of the schedule released April 6, the race was listed as the season finale but without a date.
In a statement on the IndyCar website Thursday, the series said that after the Texas race, “the remainder of the updated, 15-race IndyCar calendar for 2020, announced April 6, remains on schedule for competition.” But the calendar listed in the website’s Schedule section lists only 14 races.
IndyCar president Jay Frye said Thursday that to open the season at Texas Motor Speedway next month, the series worked with speedway president Eddie Gossage and public health officials on a plan to “ensure the safety of our event participants alongside an exciting return to competition for our drivers, teams and viewers tuning in from around the world.”
The June season opener will be on a condensed schedule with practice, qualifying and the race taking place on the same day. There will be strict access guidelines limiting the number of personnel on site, with a health screening system administered to all participants and personal protection equipment provided to everyone entering the facility.
“One of the world’s greatest sporting events, the Indy 500, has been postponed until August by coronavirus, so all of that pent-up energy, anticipation, frustrations and anxiety will be pounding through the drivers’ nervous systems.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said April 20 that NASCAR was working with Texas Motor Speedway on a plan to race there and that his state welcomed racing without spectators. Gossage then said his track was working to reschedule its Cup series event that was supposed to be run March 29 and is one of eight races NASCAR has postponed so far because of the virus.
NASCAR is set to resume racing May 17 in South Carolina and for now will stick close to the home bases of the teams in North Carolina.