The Indy 500, also known as the Indianapolis 500-mile race, is one of the many popular races held across the United States. This one takes place in Indiana, as the name suggests, specifically at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
One of the things that makes this event so popular is the fact that it takes place on Memorial Day weekend. If you want to add the Indy 500 dates to your calendar, note that the event dates are fixed at the last weekend of May each year.
The Indy 500 is just one part of the much bigger Indy Car Racing series. This is an open-wheel car racing format conducted on a track called the “Brickyard.” To add to the mystery and popularity of the event, the Indy 500 team rarely discloses attendance details. However, the area can seat more than 250,000 viewers!
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The Indy 500 was first held in 1911 and witnessed the driver Ray Harroun make his mark. Since then, the race has been conducted yearly for more than a century. This excludes the years of the two World Wars during which the event was put on hold.
If you are a Formula One fan, you might know the name “Marcus Ericsson.” This driver is also the current champion of the Indy 500 track.
One of the popular attractions of the event is the many attractions that highlight the race days. In fact, the Indy 500 is loved for the traditions and cultures that it celebrates, which are a hallmark of America.
These include the popular pre-race 33-car lineup and the post-race “bottle of milk.” For drivers who want to qualify for the Indy 500, four timed laps need to be mastered on the weekend reserved for qualifying.
The Greatest Spectacle in Racing
Why is the Indy 500 called the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”? Why has it risen to the top as one of the most famous car races through the last century?
The Indy 500 is known for the speed and track that is both exhilarating and thrill-inducing. As the drivers top 220 miles per hour, onlookers grip their seats AND their hearts, keeping their hopes high for their favourite drivers.
Indy 500 drivers must have nerves of steel! This is because the speed can cause crashes in the blink of an eye. In fact, around 15 men have died while attempting to master the Indy 500 track, with 25 drivers experiencing life-changing wrecks during a simple practice session.
Indy 500 Through the Ages
As we dive deeper into the world of racing, we learn more and more techniques that add to the safety of drivers every day. The development of many of the Indy 500 tracks owes it to the riders or onlookers that have gotten injured or lost their lives.
The Brickyard was actually constructed after the newly built Indianapolis Motor Speedway track broke apart and killed two drivers and an onlooker. This pushed the Indy 500 team to create a safer track for both the participants and the audience.
In 1911, more than 80,000 people flocked to Indiana and filled up hotels to witness 37 top drivers compete for $27,500 by car racing. Through this event emerged Ray Harroun, the famously known first winner.
By 1936, the Indy milk tradition was born as winner Louis Meyer popped open a bottle of buttermilk to celebrate his victory. This was followed by the live broadcasts of the races as television advanced by 1949. After some losses and wins, we now see the Indy 500 race gaining new momentum. Add the dates to your calendar. Perhaps 2023 is the year for a big event!
The Popular and Frequently Asked Questions About the Indy 500
Some of the questions asked about the Indy 500 include the following;
1. When is the Indy 500?
The Indy 500 is expected to take place on Sunday the 28th of May, 2023. Since the race is supposed to be conducted on Memorial Day weekend each year, it is easy to add it to your calendar for the next few years. However, the approximate timings and dates are subject to change per the Indy 500 organizers.
2. What time does the Indy 500 start?
The 2023 Indy 500 race is supposed to start at approximately 1 PM ET. This is when the flag is scheduled to go down.
3. What channel is the Indy 500 on?
Indy 500 will be aired on NBC, so if you want to watch it in the comfort of your home, switch to the channel on time!
4. What radio station is the Indy 500 on?
The Indy 500 is broadcasted on these local stations;
- 93.1 FM
- WFNI-107.5/1070 AM
- SATELLITE RADIO – SIRIUS 211
- XM 205
5. What time is the flyover for the Indy 500?
The flyover for the Indy 500 usually takes place between 12 PM and 1 PM on race day. However, for the exact time, you must refer to the events schedule once it is posted on the Indy 500 event page.
6. What does the Indy 500 winner get?
The Indy 500 winners take home a prize that differs each year. Before the pandemic, winners usually took home around $2.4 million. However, in 2022, this came down to around $2 million. The final prize is usually decided as the event dates get closer.
7. What is the milk tradition at the Indy 500?
The milk tradition began with Louis Meyer in 1936 and has remained strong. The winning driver is supposed to take a sip of ice-cold milk and pour it on themselves afterwards.