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How to watch the Indy 500

Marco Andretti starts on the pole for the 104th running of the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Marco Andretti starts on the pole for the 104th running of the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Image credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The 104th running of the Indy 500 is this Sunday, Aug. 23. It's been a long time coming, of course, because 2020 has also been the longest year ever. (Or at least since the advent of the open-wheel racing car.)

The global pandemic delayed the Indianapolis 500 from its usual May date (it was supposed to be May 24 this year) to Aug. 23, some three months later. There won't be any fans in the stands when the green flag drops somewhere around 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. (The pre-race coverage starts some 90 minutes earlier.)

But the Indy 500 will go on. 

"Believe me, there is no one more than me who wanted fans to be able to watch the 104th Running of the Indy 500 in person," Roger Penske — the legendary team owner who now owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway as well as the INDYCAR series — wrote to fans on Aug. 20. "But given the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Marion County, running the race without fans was the right decision.

And, so, we'll all turn on the TVs together on Sunday for the 104th running of the Indy 500.

How to watch the Indy 500 in the United States

This year marks another pretty big shift for INDYCAR — the series is now being televised on NBC instead of ABC. Will changing one letter make that much of a difference? Probably not. But it does mean you'll need to look in a new place come lunchtime Sunday.

The pre-race telecast will start at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday. The race gets underway at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

NBC is available on every major streaming service in the United States. One of the least expensive options will be Sling TV, which also sports a free trial. 

If you want to watch the Indy 500 without all the advertising that comes along with a network broadcast, you can snag an INDYCAR Pass from NBC Sports Gold. It's only available in the United States, and the subscription — which of course gets you all the races and not just the Indy 500 — is available for $39.99, down from the regular $54.99. And the INDYCAR Pass will last through Jan. 31, 2021.

With it you'll get race-day streaming, plus previous races on demand. You'll get inside the Indy 500 more than any of the TV coverage. Plus you'll full practice and qualifying for all the races.

How to watch the Indy 500 in the United Kingdom

Sunday's Indy 500 will be available in the UK on Sky Sports. The pre-race coverage starts at 6 p.m., followed by the race itself at 7:30 p.m. UK time.

You can get a Sky Sports day pass for just £9.99, which will get you 11 Sky Sports channels and the ability to stream on two screens at once, all for 24 hours.

Or for £33.99 you can get a full month of Sky Sports plus a free seven-day trial of Boost. That's the same 11 channels, the ability to stream on three screens at once, full HD resolution at 1080p, and 5.1 Dolby surround sound.

How to watch the Indy 500 in Canada

For our neighbors to the north, the Indianapolis 500 will be available on Sportsnet World, SN Now Plus, and SN 360. 

Who's on the pole for the Indy 500?

Marco Andretti nabbed the pole position for the Indy 500 with a fast lap of 231.068 mph. Scott Dixon — who won the first three of the six races run so far this year — is on the middle spot at 231.051 mph, and Takuma Sato will be on the outside at 230.725 mph.

Row 2 comprises Rinus Veekay (230.704) on the inside, Ryan Hunter-Reay (230.648) in the middle, and James Hinchcliffe (229.870) on the outside.