They call it “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” — for a reason. The Indianapolis 500 is the world’s most iconic automobile race. Indy cars, as opposed to the stock cars of NASCAR, whiz around the 2.5-mile oval track at speeds exceeding 200 mph for a total of 500 miles. (That’s 250 times around!) First run in 1911, the race is now held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — known to racing fans around the world as the Brickyard. If you go, get there early, bring sunscreen, and get set to witness motorsports history.
Frenchman Simon Pagenaud qualified with the top speed this year — making him the pole-sitter — meaning he’ll start the event on the inside of Row 1.
Every year thousands of fans gather to watch the most famous and highly skilled drivers in the world compete in the Indianapolis 500. The Indy 500 is one of the most sought after achievements of these drivers, and it is considered an endurance trial to compete in, and win, the race. If you love fast cars and high-revved engines, then the Indianapolis 500 is going to be your favorite time of year.
History of Indianapolis 500
The Indianapolis 500 has been around almost as long as the combustion engine, first being hosted in 1909 in the then new Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If you think that things are brutal now, the track back then was made of little but gravel and tar, and the first 100-lap race there actually had two fatalities due to breaks in the asphalt. What cannot be denied, however, is the popularity of these races, even in those early days 15,000 people would attend the race, leading to the renovation of the track.
The first repaving wasn’t actually done with asphalt, however, instead, the race track was built out of bricks! 3.2 million bricks to be precise, as well as a 2ft 9in concrete wall all the way around to prevent injuries to the viewers. His investment decidedly paid off, as the next race to be held there had 60,000 people in attendance. Little did he know that this was just the beginning of what would be an incredible journey for the Indianapolis 500, and people who really enjoyed watching cars turning left.
If there’s anything people who follow racing know, it’s that drivers and car engineers alike are a little insane. The amount of precision that goes into building an Indy racer can’t be denied, and every year sees them carefully monitoring, modifying, and tinkering with their cars to get the best possible performance. Little wonder, considering that prizes have been offered in the amount of $20,000,000 for anyone who could win both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, a feat which was almost accomplished in 2014, but for a blown engine.
How to Celebrate Indianapolis 500
The best way to Celebrate the Indianapolis 500 is to get yourself a set of tickets for you and your fellow fans and get yourself out to the race track to watch it in person. Failing that, get a bunch of buddies together at your house with some Super Bowl worthy snacks, and watch the Super Bowl of racing, the Indianapolis 500.