Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp., owners of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has penned a letter to fans who would normally spend the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend either attending or watching the Indianapolis 500, spreading a message of encouragement for the future of the event.
Initially scheduled to run on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, the pandemic has forced the event to be postponed until August 23.
The 104th running of the event will also serve as the eighth round of the revised NTT IndyCar Series calendar.
In a letter to Indy Star readers, Miles wrote regarding the event and its future.
“It’s an understatement to suggest this Sunday will feel different for Hoosiers. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of the most hallowed grounds in all of sports and home to our state’s most cherished tradition – the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race – will be shrouded in silence rather than filled with the vibrant roar of 33 racecars and the passionate cheers of 300,000 fans.
“It’s certainly a sign of these challenging and unprecedented times that the world’s largest single-day sporting event won’t run on Memorial Day Weekend for the first time since World War II. Like everyone I know, from family members to colleagues, longtime friends and neighbors, missing out on the typical Month of May has left a void to fill.
“That said, I firmly believe even the most challenging situations have their silver linings. And for Hoosiers, ours can be found in the collective approach we’ve taken to this month. The thousands of Wing & Wheel flags and “Welcome Race Fans” signs adorning homes all around this state have meant more – not less – in a month without cars on track. Porch parties have felt different with entire neighborhoods celebrating on Zoom rather than their own lawns, but perhaps more like a statement of intent than a casual gathering.
“May is always about family, community and, of course, excitement and fun. But right now, I also believe it’s about our collective resilience and unity.
“At IMS and IndyCar, we never once considered sitting this time of year out. Without a race to run over Memorial Day weekend, we’ve doubled down on community engagement and support and opened our venue as a place to provide relief and comfort.
“We were honored and humbled to host the funeral of Officer Breann Leath and provide her colleagues a socially distant way to collectively mourn her loss. Yesterday, normally Legends Day at the track, we hosted a food distribution with Gleaners Food Bank that will keep meals on the table for thousands of Hoosiers. Just a few days ago, we used our Indy 500 event cars to organize a parade for front-line workers at IU Health. And starting next week, IMS will provide free community testing for Covid-19 in partnership with the Marion County Department of Health.
“While we’re proud of these efforts, they’re simply reflective of Central Indiana’s unique ability to recover and ultimately roar back. Our city and state leadership are displaying remarkable focus and judgment amid such stormy waters, and our civic community hasn’t paused in finding ways to step up.
“We’re also working toward our racing events, preparing tirelessly for the Brickyard 400 over July 4th weekend and the Indy 500 on Sunday, Aug. 23. This involves endless contingency planning and many late nights. But getting there will be worth it, because getting our fabled racetrack back on track is part of the larger and much more important effort to get our city and state up and running again. Tens of thousands of jobs rely on the motorsports industry in Indiana. Finding ways to return to racing in partnership with state and city leaders and public health officials will accomplish a lot of good.
“But for now, I hope over Memorial Day weekend we can also reflect on the strides our community has taken together and the challenges we are overcoming, along with paying tribute to the service and sacrifice of our military and front-line heroes.
“For IMS and IndyCar, our month culminates with a national broadcast on NBC at 2pm this Sunday that tells this story. Not just the story of a race, but of a city’s and state’s resilience, determination and compassion. It’s a story worth cheering for, and it’s a story that will provide a global showcase for Indianapolis that inspires viewers around the world. I also believe it will be a treat for Hoosiers missing some of that Race Day magic.
“I hope you’ll tune in. And then we’ll get back to our collective efforts as one team to propel our city and state forward. Let’s get Indiana back on track.”