The COVID-19 pandemic continues to postpone or eliminate nearly every major sporting event in its path, and that continued Monday with the cancellation of the Detroit Grand Prix. IndyCar was set to begin racing in Detroit on May 29, but Michigan's lockdown procedures prevented workers from constructing the track in time.
"It is certainly disappointing that it won't take place this year, but the health and safety of everyone at the Grand Prix is always our top priority," Chairman of the Detroit Grand Prix Bud Denker said. "We looked at every possible scenario to reschedule the race, but all of them would have been too disruptive to the hundreds of fall events that will take place on Belle Isle."
Canceling the Grand Prix required IndyCar to reshuffle the rest of its schedule. IndyCar events at the Iowa Speedway and Laguna Seca in California will each add a race to become double-headers. The Iowa 300 and Grand Prix of Monterey events are now scheduled for July 17-18 and Sept. 19-20, respectively.
Once a 14-race season, IndyCar's new schedule now features 15 races – including an added Oct. 3 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – and tentatively begins June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway.
"We're committed to bringing fans as much on-track action as possible," Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said.
"The COVID-19 situation continues to be dynamic and challenging for everyone, so we have developed contingency plans which will allow us to respond to changing conditions," Miles added. "Our goal is to preserve as much racing competition as possible while prioritizing the health and safety of our participants and spectators."
With traditional IndyCar racing at a standstill, many fans are now turning to the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. IndyCar and iRacing, an online race simulator, collaborated to create a six-race series broadcasted on NBCSN.
Sage Karam won the first iRacing event on March 28 and Scott McLaughlin took the second event this past weekend. The third race begins April 11, and while the stakes won't be quite as high as the Detroit Grand Prix's, it's content for IndyCar fans to consume while they wait for the delayed start of the season, nonetheless.