Post by Race Review Online historian: Jim Smith
Many older race fans remember that the Indy 500 was always scheduled for May 30th regardless of which day of the week it fell on. The only exception was if the 30th fell on a Sunday the race would be scheduled for the 31st.
The Uniform Monday Holiday Act changed the traditional May 30th race date in 1971. Many will ask what is The Uniform Monday Holiday Act and when did it take effect? Also, how did it change the scheduled May 30th race date?
The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was an Act of Congress enacted on June 28, 1968 and it changed four current federal holidays to a Monday with the idea of giving workers a three day weekend.
Those holidays are George Washington’s birthday, Labor Day, Memorial Day and Columbus Day. The Act took effect officially in 1971 following an executive order from President Richard M. Nixon. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday in May.
The 1970 Indy 500 fell on Saturday May 30th thetraditional scheduled race date since 1911. This would be the last race scheduled for the traditional fixed date of May 30th. Starting in May of 1971 and 1972 the race would be held on Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend. In 1973 the race was scheduled for Monday of the Memorial Day weekend. Starting in 1974 the race was scheduled for Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend and it is still the scheduled race date.
That means the only time the race will be scheduled for May 30th is if the 30th fell on