Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis 500

Indycar race infobox
Name=Indianapolis 500

Venue=Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Sponsor= [ Various]
First race=1911
First IRL race=1996
Distance=500 miles (804 km)
Previous names=International 500-Mile Sweepstakes (1911–1915)

International 300-Mile Sweepstakes (1916)

Liberty Sweepstakes (1919)

International 500-Mile Sweepstakes (1920–1941, 1946–1979)
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, often shortened to Indianapolis 500 or Indy 500, and historically known simply as "The 500," is an American automobile race, held annually over the Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The event lends its name to the IndyCar class of formula, or open-wheel, race cars that have competed in it.

The event, billed as "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing", is one of the oldest motorsport events, and is considered one of the three most significant motor racing events in the world. While the official attendance is not disclosed by Speedway management, with a permanent seating capacity for more than 257,000 people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000 it is the largest single-day sporting event in the world. [ [ List of stadiums with 100,000 plus capacity] ]

The race has been broadcast live on radio by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network since 1952. It was televised live from 1949-1950 on WFBM-TV. From 1965-1985, ABC Sports, now known as "ESPN on ABC", broadcast the race via tape delay. Since 1986, ABC has televised the race live flag-to-flag (although live coverage is blacked out in the Indianapolis market). In 2007, the race was first broadcast in HD.

The 93rd running will be held on Sunday May 24, 2009, marking the 64th consecutive year of uninterrupted occurrence.


The early years

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex was built in 1909 as a gravel-and-tar track and hosted a smattering of small events before the promoters decided to focus on just one major event. The track was then paved with 3.2 million bricks, urged by principal owner Carl G. Fisher after several deaths related to the unsteady racing surface. The creation of a 500 mile (805 km) race allowed the track to rapidly acquire a privileged status for automobile races. The first "500" was held at the Speedway on Memorial Day, May 30, 1911, with Ray Harroun piloting a Marmon "Wasp" — outfitted with his invention, the rear-view mirror — to victory. 80,200 spectators paid $1 admission, and an annual tradition had been established. Many considered Harroun to be a hazard during the race, as he was the only driver in the race driving without a riding mechanic, who checked the oil pressure and let the driver know when traffic was coming.Although the first race was won by an American driver at the wheel of an American car, European makers such as the Italian Fiat or French Peugeot companies soon developed their own vehicles to try to win the event, which they did from 1913 to 1919. However, after World War I, the native drivers and manufacturers regained their dominance of the race, with the engineer Harry Arminius Miller setting himself up as the most competitive of the post-war builders. His technical developments allowed him to be indirectly connected to a history of success that would last into the mid-1970s.

Miller and Offenhauser

In the early 1920s, Miller built his own 3.0 litre (183 in³) engine, inspired by the Peugeot Grand Prix engine which had been serviced in his shop by Fred Offenhauser in 1914, installing it in Jimmy Murphy's Duesenberg and allowing him to win the 1922 edition of the race. Miller then created his own automobiles, which shared the 'Miller' designation, which, in turn, were powered by supercharged versions of his 2.0 and 1.5 liter (122 and 91 in³) engine single-seaters, winning four more races for the engine up to 1929 (two of them, 1926 and 1928, in Miller chassis). The engines then won another seven races until 1938 (again two of them, 1930 and 1932, in Miller-designated chassis), then ran at first with stock-type motors before later being adjusted to the international 3.0 liter formula.

However, in 1935, Miller's former employees, Fred Offenhauser and Leo Goosen, had already achieved their first win with the soon-to-become famous 4-cylinder Offenhauser or "Offy" engine. This motor was forever connected with the Brickyard's history with a to-date record total of 27 wins, in both naturally-aspirated and supercharged form, and winning a likewise record-holding 18 consecutive years between 1947 and 1964.

Race name

The race was originally advertised as the "International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race" from 1911-1916. However, from the start the race was known as the Indianapolis 500 or, more simply as the "500."

In 1919, the race was referred to as the "Liberty Sweepstakes" following WWI. From 1920-1980, the race reverted to the "International Sweepstakes" name, or slight variations such as "International Sweepstakes Race, Distance 500 Miles." Following WWII, the race was commonly recognized as "The 500", The 500-Mile Race," "Indianapolis 500," or "Indy 500," and usually the ordinal (e.g. "50th") preceded it. Often the race was also advertised on the radio as the "Annual Memorial Day race," or similar variations.

For the 1981 race, the name "65th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race" was officially adopted, with all references as the "International Sweepstakes" dropped. Since 1981, the race has been advertised in this fashion, complete with a unique annual logo and the ordinal always included. Around that same time, in the wake of the 1979 race entry controversy, and the formation of CART, the race changed to an invitational event, rather than an Open, rendering the "sweepstakes" description invalid.

The Borg-Warner Trophy, introduced in 1936, proclaims the event as the "Indianapolis 500-Mile Race," with no reference at all to the name "International Sweepstakes."

European incursions

In the meantime, European manufacturers, gone from the Indianapolis 500 for nearly two decades, made a brief return just before World War II, with the competitive Maserati 8CM allowing Wilbur Shaw to become the first driver to win consecutively at Indianapolis in 1941. With the 500 having been a part of the World Drivers' Championship between 1950 and 1960, Ferrari made a discreet appearance at the 1952 event with Alberto Ascari, but European entries were few and far between during those days.

In fact, it was not until the Indianapolis 500 was removed from the Formula One calendar European entries made their return, with Australian Jack Brabham driving his slightly modified F1 Cooper in the 1961 race. In 1963, technical innovator Colin Chapman brought his Team Lotus to Indianapolis for the first time, attracted by the large monetary prizes, far bigger than the usual at a European event. Racing a mid-engined car, Scotsman Jim Clark was second in his first attempt in 1963, dominating in 1964 until suffering suspension failure on lap 47, and completely dominating the race in 1965, a victory which also interrupted the success of the Offy, and offering the 4.2 litre Ford V8 its first success at the race. The following year, 1966, saw another British win, this time Graham Hill in a Lola-Cosworth.

Offenhauser too would join forces with a European maker, McLaren, obtaining three wins for the chassis, one with the Penske team in 1972 with driver Mark Donohue, and two for the McLaren works team in 1974 and 1976 with Johnny Rutherford. This was also the last time the Offy would win a race, its competitiveness steadily decreasing until its final appearance in 1983. American drivers kept on filling the majority of entries at the Brickyard for the following years, but European technology had taken over. Starting in 1978, most chassis and engines were European, with the only American-based chassis to win during the CART era being the Wildcat and Galmer (which was actually built in Bicester, England) in 1982 and 1992 respectively. Ford and Chevrolet engines were built in the UK by Cosworth and Ilmor, respectively.

World Series

After foreign cars became the norm, foreign drivers started showing up at the Indianapolis 500 on a regular basis, choosing the United States as their primary base for their motor racing activities. Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi, Italian Teo Fabi and Colombian Roberto Guerrero, were able to obtain good outings in the 80s. However, it wasn't until 1993 that reigning Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell shocked the racing world by moving to the United States, winning the CART PPG IndyCar World Series Championship and only losing the 500 in his rookie year because of inexperience with green-flag restarts. Foreign-born or, at least, -bred drivers became a regular fixture of Indianapolis in the years to follow.

Organizational issues

At the end of the 1995 season, the Indianapolis 500 was transferred to its fourth regulations ruling body since its inception. From 1911–1955, the race was organized under the auspices of the AAA. Following the 1955 Le Mans disaster, AAA ceased its auto racing division to concentrate on its membership program aimed at the general motoring public. IMS owner Tony Hulman founded the United States Automobile Club (USAC) in 1956, which took over sanctioning of the race.

From 1950–1960, the Indianapolis 500 also counted toward the World Driving Championship (now synonymous with Formula 1), although most of the racers did not compete in the other races in the Championship.

Due to control issues of monetary prizes and regulation amendments in the 1970s, along with the death of Tony Hulman in 1977, and the loss of several key USAC officials in a 1978 plane crash, several key team owners banded together and formed Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), which started organizing the Indycar World Series in 1978. However, the Indianapolis 500 remained with USAC for the next several years and became the only high-level race the body still sanctioned after its own series was discontinued after 1979. The race was temporarily removed from the CART calendar, although the same cars and drivers were in attendance. The stand-off was eventually resolved and the race became part of the CART calendar in 1983, though race sanctioning remained in the hands of USAC. Although the race only awarded the same points as any of the other races it was by far the highest-profile event of the CART season, with the largest purse of the year.

Despite the CART/USAC divide, from 1983 to 1994 the race was run in relative harmony, with CART and USAC occasionally disagreeing over the technical regulations.

Formation of the Indy Racing League

However, in 1994, IMS owner Tony George (Tony Hulman's grandson) announced that he planned to diminish influence from CART and make it the centerpiece of a new series, to be called the Indy Racing League (IRL). Opinions varied on his motivations, with his supporters sharing his disapproval of Indy's lack of status within CART when it was obvious that it was the series' flagship, the increasing number of foreign drivers as American drivers instead gravitated towards NASCAR, and the decreasing number of oval-track races in the series. Detractors accused George of throwing his weight around and playing politics with the race and its heritage just for a power play furthering his own interests at the expense of the sport overallFact|date=August 2008. Some mention was made of the fact that the race purse had not gone up in a long time.Fact|date=August 2008

In its first season in 1996, the IRL attracted mainly little known and inexperienced drivers, smaller teams and older cars. Because of this and other reasons, NASCAR's Daytona 500 has surpassed IRL's Indianapolis 500 in U.S. television ratings.Fact|date=August 2008

George announced that 25 of the 33 starting positions at the 1996 Indianapolis 500 would be reserved for the top 25 cars in the IRL points standings, effectively leaving only eight entries for teams who had not competed in the first two IRL races. (This rule would be similar to NASCAR's exemption rules established in 2005.) CART's reaction to this move was to announce a competing race, the U.S. 500, to run on the same day as Indianapolis. Relative unknown American Buddy Lazier, a driver who had however qualified for three previous 500's (1991, 1992, 1995), won a competitive but crash-filled race. The CART race had to be delayed when the front-row drivers collided at the start and triggered a massive pile-up. The U.S. 500 never generated much in the way of fan interest or television ratings associated with a major event. For 1997, it was moved from being directly opposite the Indianapolis 500 to July, and canceled altogether in 1999.

Since the IRL had decided that its crown jewel should be the climactic last race of the season, similar to the USAC Marlboro Championship Trail before the 1978 dispute, the 1996 IRL season consisted of only three races: the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World in January, Phoenix in March, and the Indianapolis 500 in May. The next race, at New Hampshire in August, began the 1996-97 season. However, this caused confusion for fans used to the traditional calendar-year based schedule used by almost all motorsports organizations. It also did not meet the needs of corporate sponsors, whose budget sheets ran on the fiscal year. Therefore, in September 1996, the IRL announced its season would revert to a calendar-year based schedule. Since the second season had already commenced, the two races held in late 1996 (New Hampshire and Las Vegas were included in a 17-month schedule, and were combined with all events held in 1997. This marathon season coming right after the three-race 1996 season did not help the league's image. By 1998, the IRL schedule fell into sync with the rest of the motorsports world.

In 1997, George made his next move and specified new technical rules for less expensive cars and "production based" engines that outlawed the CART-spec cars that had been the mainstay of the race since the late 1970s. For the next few years almost all of the CART teams and drivers did not compete in the race. While this situation allowed many American drivers to participate in an event they might otherwise have been unable to afford, the turbulent political situation and the absence of many of the top IndyCar drivers, the big-name sponsors and faster CART-spec cars cast something of a shadow over the race. It was certainly arguable that to the average fan, the replacement of at least fairly-well-known foreign drivers by almost-unknown American ones was not a real gain.

In 2000, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, while still racing in the CART Series, made the decision to return to Indianapolis with his drivers, 1996 CART Series Champion Jimmy Vasser, and 1999 CART Series Champion Juan Pablo Montoya. On race day Montoya put on a dominating performance, leading 167 of the 200 laps to win. The defeat was somewhat humiliating for the IRL teams, with Target Chip Ganassi Racing's advantage primarily being pit stops that were frequently several seconds quicker than their main rivals. A year later, Roger Penske, historically CART and Indianapolis' most successful team owner, also came back to Indianapolis and won. In 2002, Penske and Ganassi became permanent entrants in the IRL, with many other former CART teams joining them in switching sides. In 2003 Honda and Toyota switched their engine supply from CART to the IRL Indycar Series. CART went bankrupt later in the year, with its rights and infrastructure purchased by remaining car owners.

The Champ Car World Series continued to operate as a separate series and by 2007 had eliminated all oval races from its schedule. Prior to the 2008 season, a deal was brokered to reunite Champ Car World Series and the IndyCar Series, bringing an end to the 12 year long split. The 2008 Indianapolis 500 saw every major American open wheel racing team attempt to qualify.

NASCAR drivers in the 500

Between 1994 and 2005, several NASCAR drivers were able to compete in both the 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is held the evening of the Sunday before Memorial Day, usually just after the conclusion of the 500. In order to make it on time, drivers usually caught a helicopter directly from the Speedway to take them to the Indianapolis International Airport, flew into Concord Regional Airport, and even then barely made it in time to race. Notable drivers include Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, and John Andretti who all started their careers in Indy Cars. Stewart "did the double" in 1999 and 2001, but contract limits restricted him from doing so in 2004. Gordon has done it the most number of times; in 2004 the rain caused him to have to hand over driving duties to fellow driver Jaques Lazier, the first occasion for a relief driver at Indianapolis since 1978. In 1999 Gordon missed the start of the Coca-Cola 600, which started pace laps when the Indianapolis 500 finished. Gordon, who was his own team owner, placed P. J. Jones, an Indianapolis 500 veteran, in his NASCAR car while Gordon finished (and on a fuel-conservation strategy, came within two laps of winning) the Indianapolis 500. Jones received the driver's points but the owner's points were not affected.

Tony Stewart is the only driver to complete the full race distance (1100 miles {1770 km}) in both races on the same day.

For 2005, the start of Indianapolis was pushed back one hour from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time to improve national television air-time. This makes it virtually impossible for NASCAR drivers to be able to compete at Indy and Lowe's on the same day; that decision made the starting times of the races (1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively) too close for drivers to compete in both races on the same day in the foreseeable future. However, in 2006, Casey Mears, nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears, said that car owner Chip Ganassi--who also presently runs a two-car IRL operation--was open to entering Mears if he won the 2006 Daytona 500 [ [ Emphasis on winning for Mears] ,, February 17, 2006] ; he eventually finished 2nd.

Two winners of the Indianapolis 500 have also won NASCAR's premiere event, the Daytona 500: the first being Mario Andretti in 1967, two years before triumphing at Indianapolis, and A.J. Foyt becoming the second to do so in 1972, five years after his third 500 victory in 1967. Foyt is also the only driver to date to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (also in 1967).

Technical regulations

Technical specifications for the Indianapolis 500 are currently specified by the Indy Racing League. Rules are the same as every other IRL IndyCar race except for special low-drag adjustable "Speedway" wings that are only used for the Indy 500. In the past, especially during the years when USAC sanctioned the race but CART was the dominant sanctioning body, rules between the race and the sanctioning body differed at times, resulting in chassis and engines being legal for Indy, yet not being legal for other events that season. The most famous manifestation of that disparity was the Ilmor-built Mercedes-Benz 500I engine fielded by Roger Penske in 1994.

Teams may enter up to two cars on a given car number. The second "backup" car is given that number followed by a "T". For example the two cars for the #2 team would be numbered #2 and #2T. Both cars may be practiced during the month, or even simultaneously. Additionally, as the month wears on a "T car" may be split off into its own entry with another number or sold to another team who may have lost its primary car and does not have a backup.

All cars must pass a rigorous technical inspection before receiving a sticker signifying that the car is eligible to practice. Prior to and following qualification attempts, cars must pass another inspection. The first inspection is focused on safety aspects while the second is largely to detect deviations from the performance guidelines set forth by the league.

Qualifying procedure

Throughout the years the race has used a number of qualifying procedures. In the first few races every entrant who posted the entry fee and attained a minimum qualifying speed was given a spot in the field and entries started in the order that their applications were received or a random draw.Mittman, Dick. [ Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Has Evolved Over The Years] ,, September 22, 2004] Speed-based qualifying began in 1915 and the field was capped at 33 entries where it has stood ever since. The current four-lap qualifying distance was introduced in 1920. For most of the post war era each car, regardless of driver, was allotted three qualifying attempts to make the field of 33. Drivers on lined up in order of the day they qualified and within that day they were ranked in order of speed. Once the field was full, the slowest car, regardless of the day it qualified, was bumped from the field if another driver drove faster. Qualifying attempts were set at the average speed of four laps around the speedway, totaling 10 miles, a rule that has stood since 1939. Cars qualify one at a time. Once the four laps were completed the attempt was official; that car could not qualify again for that race, even if it was bumped from the field or if its four lap average was not adequate to bump into the field. However, the driver could attempt to qualify his "T car" or another entry. In order to use additional qualifying attempts, the car would have to "wave off" its attempt prior to taking the checkered flag at the end of the fourth lap by either the team owner waving a yellow flag from his vantage point at the beginning of the front stretch or by the driver pulling into pit lane. In addition, a driver wishing to better his time must withdraw his earlier qualifying time prior to beginning his new attempt, meaning that if he drives slower then the slower time stands and if he is unable to complete his attempt, he will no longer have a spot in the field.

In 2005, the speedway changed its qualifying rules in order to increase fan interest, especially in the second and third days of the four days of qualifying. Under the current rules, each car is allowed 3 attempts each day and cars are now allowed to be qualified again, even after completing an attempt if they are bumped or their time is withdrawn. The most significant change is limiting the number spots in the field available each day. On the first day, starting positions 1 through 11 are available, on the second day - 12 through 22, on day 3 - 23 through 33, and on day four the slowest driver regardless of day is bumped once the field is full. On days one through three, only the slowest driver on that day can be bumped from the field. For example if the field stood at 22 on day two, but the slowest driver qualified on day 1 in the 11th position, the driver sitting in the 22nd position would be bumped if he was surpassed in speed, not the driver sitting 11th. However, if the 11th place driver was still slowest on fourth day and the field was full, he would then be on the bubble. If spots are not filled on a given day, they carry over to the next day. For example, if at the end of the second day only 20 cars had registered qualifying times, positions 21 through 33 would be available on day 3. Qualifiers still start in the order of the day they qualified and then by speed, meaning that all day four qualifiers still start after the day 3 qualifiers.

On a given day of qualifying, the track is open for qualifications from 12 noon to 6 PM local time. Prior to the day's activities, numbers are drawn for each entry that determine the order that the cars will be eligible to attempt to qualify starting at noon of that day. If any attempts are allowed that day, every entry that draws a number will be guaranteed at least one attempt to qualify that day, even if the attempt actually occurs on another day, they will be treated as a qualifier for the day they drew for. For example, if forty cars draw numbers for pole day, but rain starts after only 10 cars have made attempts and qualifications do not resume, the remaining entries will be allowed to make one attempt to qualify at the beginning of the session on Sunday and be treated as first day qualifiers. Once the list of drawn numbers has been exhausted by every entry either making an attempt or forgoing their opportunity, the track is open to all qualifiers to present their car to make an attempt. If there are no cars in line to make an attempt, the track is opened for practice. A car must only take to the track prior to the 6 PM gun in order for its attempt to count, meaning the driver may actually take the green or checkered flag after 6 PM.

Rain can and often does interfere with the track's practice and qualifying schedule and decisions made in the interest of safety and fair competition may differ from year to year based on different situations. Speedway COO Joie Chitwood III and IRL COO Brian Barnhart are ultimately charged with such decisions.


Due to the longevity of the Indianapolis 500, a number of traditions have developed over the years. For many fans, these traditions are almost as important as the race itself, and they have often reacted quite negatively when the traditions are changed or broken.


*The two to three weeks of practice and qualifying prior to the race is known in racing circles simply as "the month of May."
*The final practice session before pole day qualifying is nicknamed "Fast Friday." The fastest speeds of the month are commonly observed on Fast Friday, as teams and drivers make their final preparations and look for final "bragging rights" before the run for the pole position. Drivers who have been "sandbagging" during the week may chose to reveal their speed, in an effort to distance themselves from the competition. Though "Fast Friday" has been a fixture since the 1950s-1960s, the nickname was not coined until 2000. Track records set on Fast Friday (and other practice sessions) are considered unofficial, because the sanctioning body only recognizes speeds set during the officially competitive sessions of qualifying and the race.
*The final day of qualifying, when the final starting field is set is known as "bump day" as drivers who are removed from the field of 33 by being out-qualified by faster cars are said to have been "bumped." The driver with the slowest speed in a full field and therefore the first in line to be bumped is said to be "on the bubble."
*The final practice session before the race, currently held on the Friday before race day, is called "Carburetion Day" (shortened to "Carb Day" since 2000). The name originally came from the fact that it was the final session where teams could tune their carburetors in conditions similar to those that may be encountered on race day. The name has remained despite the fact that no qualified car has used a carburetor since 1963. A pit stop competition, rock concert (sometimes a rap concert), and the Firestone Indy Lights Series Freedom 100 are also currently held on Carb Day. [ [ Indianapolis 500 Schedule] ,]
*On the Friday before the race the "Last Row Party" has been held every year for charity since 1972. It serves as a roast for the final three qualifiers in the 500, that will be starting on the eleventh and final row. They are usually, but not always, the slowest three cars in the field. [Powell, Eric. [ 'Last Row Party' Celebrates 33rd Year On May 27 At Brickyard Crossing] ,, April 21, 2005] Like Mr. Irrelevant, many of these drivers are often obscure, but eight former or eventual race winners have participated in the honor at some time in their career.
*At 6 a.m., and in some years as early as 5 a.m., an explosive is set off to signal the opening of the gates.
*The Purdue University All-American Marching Band plays several pre-race songs, including "On the Banks of the Wabash" and "Stars and Stripes Forever."
*In remembrance of Memorial Day, "Taps" is played, and a U.S military aircraft does a fly-by. In some years, multiple aircraft participate, executing the missing man formation.
*In most years since the mid-1990s, the song "God Bless America" has been performed by Florence Henderson. Henderson, a native Hoosier, is a friend of the Hulman-George family. Her performance is followed by "The Star-Spangled Banner," performed by a notable artist each year. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith is infamous for substituting the line "the home of the Indianapolis 500" for the traditional anthem ending of "the home of the brave" in 2001. [Simon, Bruce. [ Aerosmith's Steven Tyler Angers Vets At Indy 500] , Yahoo! Music, May 29, 2001]
*The final, most traditional performance is the singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana" by Jim Nabors, accompanied by the Purdue Marching Band. Nabors has performed the song in most years since 1972. During the line "...the new mown hay..." thousands of multicolored balloons are released from an infield tent. This tradition has accompanied the race since 1946. In 2007, Nabors was too ill to sing, and fans were encouraged to sing along with the band. [ Indianapolis 500 Traditions] ,]
*The call for the engines to start is made by stating "Gentlemen, start your engines!" When female drivers are competing, the call has been amended to "Lady and Gentlemen" or "Ladies and Gentlemen." Wilbur Shaw, President of the Speedway from 1946-1954, is not believed to have coined the phrase, but is widely accepted as the person who made it famous. Tony Hulman made the command eloquent and famous while he did it from 1955-1977. From 1978-1980 and 1982-1996, the call was made by his widow Mary Fendrich Hulman. Her daughter, Mari Hulman George recited the command in 1981, and continuously since 1997.
*On occasions when an accident or rain has halted the race, a second command has typically been given. years include 1967, 1973, 1982, 1986, 1997, 2004, 2007. The amended command, "gentlemen, restart your engines," has usually been used. In 1986, this restart command was given by Tony George. In 1982 and 2004 the command was given by public address announcer Tom Carnegie.


*The cars begin the race in a rolling start, traditionally in eleven rows of three, for a field of 33 cars. Most other automobile races have two cars in a row. This derives from a 1919 AAA mandate of one car for every 400 feet (120 m) of track. Early races, however, saw varying numbers of starters, from as low as 21, to as high as 42. Since 1933 there have been no fewer than 33 qualifiers. In 1941, Sam Hanks was injured in a practice crash the day before the race and withdrew. Then on the morning of the race, George Barringer's car was destroyed in a fire in the garage area, thus only 31 cars actually started the race. The only time since then that fewer than 33 cars qualified was 1947. In that year, a boycott over the purse led to only 30 qualifiers. In 1979, after a rules dispute over turbocharger inlets, and after controversy regarding the refusal of some entries from members of the CART series, a special fifth day of qualifying was added. However, only two cars ran sufficient speeds to be added to the field, and 35 cars started the race. In 1997, a controversial situation saw points-based, locked-in qualifiers bumping out other cars that had actually qualified with faster speeds. Two bumped cars were restored to the field to ensure the 33 fastest entries qualifying, for a total of 35 starters. Ironically, on the pace lap, three cars crashed out, while two suffered mechanical problems, and only 30 cars took the green flag.
*Tom Carnegie announced on June 9, 2006 that the previous month's race, would be his last as official track announcer. Having called the race since 1946 on the public address system, he is best known for his lines, "He's on it!" (signalling the start of a qualifying attempt), "It's a new track record!" (when a driver surpasses either a one- or four-lap track record in qualifications), and "He's slowing down on the backstretch!" or "Andretti's slowing down!" (The latter for the Andretti family's historical misfortune at Indianapolis.). [Kelly, Paul. [ Legendary P.A. Announcer Carnegie Steps Down After 61 Years At IMS] ,, June 9, 2006] Indianapolis television personality David Calabro became the second PA announcer in the Hulman-George era after Carnegie's retirement for the 2007 race.


*A long-standing tradition of the Indianapolis 500 is for the victor to drink a bottle of milk immediately after the race. This practice first began in 1936 after Victor Louis Meyer asked for a glass of buttermilk, something his mother had encouraged him to drink on hot days. By 1956, it became a ritual as milk companies became sponsors of the race purse and handed a bottle of milk to the winner to promote their product. A sponsorship of currently $10,000 now paid out by the American Dairy Association if the winner sips the milk in victory lane. In 1993, Emerson Fittipaldi drank orange juice instead of milk after his victory. Later he took a sip of milk. Fittipaldi owned citrus farms in Brazil, and wished to promote his industry. As a result, he was booed in driver's introductions the following week by the crowd in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the heart of "America's Dairyland."
*A bas-relief sculpture of the winner's face, along with his name, average speed, and date of victory is added to the Borg-Warner Trophy. The trophy has been in use since 1936. A smaller replica of this trophy has been officially presented to the winner after the race since 1988. Prior to that, winners received a replica mounted on a chestnut plaque.
*The winner has been awarded one of the pace cars, or a replica, almost every year since 1936. In 1941, there were only six copies of the special Chrysler Newport Phaeton, and no production models created. The co-winners did not receive it. In 1946, an oil painting and a trip to Italy was substituted as the award, but winner George Robson died in a motorsports accident before he received it. In 1991, the Dodge Viper was still a prototype vehicle, and only two were in existence. Winner Rick Mears was awarded instead a Dodge Stealth, which was to be the original pace car but after protests by the UAW (because the Stealth was a captive import built by Mitsubishi in Japan), they were instead used at the track for festival cars.
* The tradition of the winning driver and crew kissing the yard of bricks that mark the start/finish, started by Dale Jarrett at the 1996 Brickyard 400, appears to have carried over to the Indy 500, starting with Gil de Ferran in 2003. [ [ Hornish Jr. ruins Andrettis’ ‘fairytale’ Indy] , Associated Press, May 29, 2006]


Many people promote and share information about the Indy 500 and its memorabilia collecting. [ [ The National Indy 500 Collectors Club] ] The National Indy 500 Collectors Club is an independent active organization that has been dedicated to support such activities. The organization was established January 1, 1985 in Indianapolis by its founder John Blazier and includes an experienced membership available for discussion and advice on Indy 500 memorabilia trading and Indy 500 questions in general.


The Indianapolis 500 has been the subject of several films, and has experienced countless references in television, movies, and other media.

"Indianapolis 500 Legends", a Wii and DS game based on the race was released on December 18, 2007 [ [ "Indianapolis 500 Legends" for Wii and Nintendo DS Now Racing to Store Shelves from Destineer] , GameZone, December 18, 2007]

"See main article: Indianapolis 500 in film and media"

ee also

* Indianapolis 500 Records
* Indianapolis 500 Firsts
* Indianapolis 500 year by year
* List of Indianapolis 500 deaths
* List of Indianapolis 500 lap leaders
* List of Indianapolis 500 pace cars
* List of Indianapolis 500 pole-sitters
* List of Indianapolis 500 Rookies of the Year
* List of Indianapolis 500 winners
* List of Indianapolis 500 winning starting positions
* List of Indianapolis 500 broadcasters


External links

* [ Indianapolis 500 Official website]
* [ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Official website]
* [ Indy Racing League Official website]
* [ Indianapolis 500 images from the Ralph Satterlee Collection, Ball State Special Collections Research Center]
* [ Indianapolis 500 fan photograph pool]
* [ NPR Story About the Indianapolis 500]


"Indy: The Race and Ritual of the Indianapolis 500, Second Edition", Terry Reed, 2005

Indycar next race
Previous_race = Kansas Lottery Indy 300
Next_race = ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Indianapolis 500 — Indianapolis Motor Speedway Nombre de tours …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Indianapolis-500 — im Jahre 1994 Das Indianapolis 500, oftmals auch nur Indy 500 genannt, wird seit dem 30. Mai 1911 veranstaltet und ist somit das älteste und traditionsreichste Rundstrecken Autorennen der Welt. Es ist der Höhepunkt im Rennkalender der Indy Racing …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Indianapolis 500 — im Jahre 1994 Das Indianapolis 500, oftmals auch nur Indy 500 genannt, wird seit dem 30. Mai 1911 veranstaltet und ist somit eines der ältesten und traditionsreichsten Rundstrecken Autorennen der Welt (das älteste Rennen, das heute nicht mehr… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Indianapolis 500 — a 500 mile oval track race for rear engine cars having particular specifications, held annually in Indianapolis, Ind. * * * U.S. automobile race. It has been held annually since 1911 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5 mi (4 km) asphalt… …   Universalium

  • Indianapolis 500 2008 — Veranstaltungsort: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Datum: 25. Mai 2008 Sieger: Scott Dixon …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Indianapolis 500: The Simulation — Indianapolis 500 The Simulation Éditeur Electronic Arts Développeur Papyrus Design Group Concepteur David Kaemmer …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Indianapolis 500 in film and media — The Indianapolis 500 auto race has been the subject for several motion pictures. It has also received countless references in television, film, commercials, and other media. The following is a list of such references.Film* Racing Hearts (1922)… …   Wikipedia

  • Indianapolis 500 by year — This article discusses the year by year history of the Indianapolis 500 race.1909 1910The first auto races held the Indianapolis Motor Speedway occur on August 19 21, 1909. After a series of races held in the summer of 1910, it was decided that… …   Wikipedia

  • Indianapolis 500 records — As of 92nd race, 25 May 2008. Victories by driver: 4 *flagicon|United States A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977) *flagicon|United States Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) *flagicon|United States Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991)Victories by… …   Wikipedia

  • Indianapolis 500 firsts — Wins, Leaders and Race Competition= † During time trials, Bill Vukovich II turned his first lap at 185.797 mph, to set the one lap track record, and was the first driver to officially break the 180 mph barrier. He, however, crashed on his second… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”