More than 300,000 racing fans will flock to Indianapolis next month to witness the drama, intrigue and exhilaration of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The Indy 500 stands alongside the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans in the Triple Crown of Motorsport, and it draws the biggest crowd of any sporting event in the world. The greatest drivers in the business will battle it out over 200 laps of the famous track for a total of 500 miles. It is a gruelling endurance test and the quickest finish time remains the 2:40:03.4 posted by Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan in 2013.
History- Traditions and Previous Winners
Race winners are presented with a bottle of milk, which is typically poured over their heads. It harks back to 1936 winner Louis Meyer requesting buttermilk after emerging parched from his car, and the act has been a tradition since the 1950s. Hélio Castroneves is the most successful active driver, with three wins, but has not finished first since 2009. Three drivers hold the joint record of four wins: AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears, who gained his last win in 1990.
Last year, Takuma Sato became the first-ever Japanese winner of the Indy 500 after overtaking Helio Castroneves and rookie Ed Jones with five laps remaining. He hung on to claim a dramatic victory thanks to some bold maneuvers and denied Castroneves a fourth victory in the race. Spanish F1 legend Fernando Alonso was also in contention with 21 laps remaining but suffered a late engine failure and was forced to retire.
Nine women have started the race, but we have not yet had a female winner. The closest was Danica Patrick, who delivered a superb performance to finish third in 2009. She led the race in 2005 and 2011, but has not quite managed to close out victory. The Wisconsin native is now 36 years old and has announced that this year’s race will be her final Indy 500.
The Event- Venue and Race Day
The race is clearly the main event, and the action is invariably thrilling, but the entire day is packed with entertainment. It all takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana and the venue hosts an on-site museum teeming with display cars, including vintage and contemporary automobiles. You can browse photos, memorabilia and exhibitions educating you about the history of this famous race, which began 102 years ago and has changed dramatically over the past century. A bus tour takes you on a lap of the track, there is a go-kart track and you can relax in different restaurants and wine bars.
This year’s event takes place on Sunday, May 27, during Memorial Day weekend. Engines will start at 12.15 pm ET and the green flag will drop at 12.20 pm. As always, there will be 33 drivers in the mix and if you check for odds on Indy 500 you will see that all the leading drivers in the world are vying for glory.
Like each year, competition will be fierce and it will be positively exhilarating to stand among the fans and watch the action unfold!
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