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Indy 500 Racing Guide

The Indy 500 is one of America’s most beloved racing events. To help you plan your trip to this iconic race, we’ve compiled a list of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Indy 500. You can also check out our Indianapolis Travel Guide for our tips and recommendations on how to get the most out of your Indy 500 experience.

What is the Indy 500?

The Indianapolis 500 is IndyCar’s premier race. This 500-mile auto race is held annually in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. It is known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and boasts over a century of history.

When is the Indy 500?

The Indy 500 traditionally takes place on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. In 2024, the race is scheduled for May 26th.

What time does the Indy 500 start?

Although the 2024 Indy 500 schedule has not been finalized, typically the green flag that starts the race is dropped around 1:00 pm EST.

What is the race schedule for the 2024 Indy 500?

The action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway starts early on race morning. Assuming the 2024 will be similar to last year, the gates will open around 6:00am. Throughout the morning, race fans can watch a number of pre-race traditions including the Borg Waner Trophy March, Driver Introductions, and the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana.” More details about the Indy 500 weekend schedule can be found here.

Why is it called the Indy 500?

The Indy 500 gets its name from its host city (Indianapolis) and the length of the race (500 miles). The race has previously been called the “500-Mile International Sweepstakes,” the “300-Mile International Sweepstakes,” and the “Liberty Sweepstakes.” The Indy 500 is also known by the nickname “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Where can you park at the Indy 500?

Roadtrips’ Indy 500 packages include roundtrip luxury motor coach transfers to and from the track including VIP onsite parking. For our guests who prefer to drive to the speedway on race day, there are a number of parking lots available. Details on parking can be found here. We recommend purchasing your parking in advance as most lots do sell out.

How many seats at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a permanent seating capacity of approximately 250,000, with the potential to host up to 400,000 total spectators when the infield seating is included.

What are the best seats for the Indy 500?

Like many events, the best seats at the Indy 500 are in large part a matter of personal preference. Typically at race events, the higher up the seats, the better the sightlines. Some of the most coveted seats are in E Penthouse (turn 1) and the suites near the start/finish line. In addition to the location of your seats, some other things to consider at Indy are which seats are covered and which have seat backs as opposed to bleacher-style seating. Our Sports Travel Specialists will go over the options and help you determine what seating would best fit your requirements.

How many people attend the Indy 500?

Indianapolis Motor Speedway does not release the official attendance at the Indy 500. For the last Indy 500 in 2023, estimates placed the expected attendance at close to 325,000. The last time the race sold out — for the 100th running in 2016 — the crowd was estimated at 350,000 people.

Who is singing at the Indy 500?

The 2024 Indy 500 concerts will be announced at a later date. Past performers have included the Steve Miller Band, Barenaked Ladies, Kool & the Gang, Train, Bryan Adams, and Brad Paisley.

What is the weather like at the Indy 500?

The weather in Indianapolis in May is typically quite pleasant. Average lows are in the mid-50s with average highs in the mid-70s Fahrenheit.

What to wear to the Indy 500?

Our best recommendation for Indy 500 attire is to check the forecast the day before and plan accordingly. A warmer layer is worth bringing in case the race goes into the late afternoon or evening due to delays. If rain is a possibility, we recommend bringing a poncho. Alternatively, umbrellas are permitted as long as they don’t obstruct the views of other fans. Other important items to consider are comfortable footwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, and ear plugs.

Is there a dress code in the Indy 500 suites?

While there is no official dress code for the Indy 500 suites, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) states that “admittance will be denied if clothing is considered offensive, disruptive, or unsuitable for any reason.” Long pants and closed-toe shoes are recommended by IMS.

What items are prohibited at the Indy 500?

Prohibited items at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway include:
• Aerosols
• Animals other than service animals
• Coolers larger than 18” x 14” x 14”
• Drones
• Fireworks/Flares
• Flagpoles
• Glass containers
• Golf Cards
• Illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia
• Lasers
• Rollerblades, skateboards, skates, hoverboards, and scooters
• Selfie Sticks
• Weapons of any kind

A full list of prohibited items can be found on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s website.

How many cars race in the Indy 500?

The Indy 500 starting field traditionally consists of 33 cars, lined up in 3 rows according to their qualifying time. It hasn’t always been 33 starters though. The very first Indy 500 in 1911 had a starting field of 40 and the number varied until 1934 when the maximum was set at 33, though there have been a few exceptions.

What drivers are competing in the 2024 Indy 500?

The 2024 Indy 500 field has not yet been determined. The 2024 Indy 500 qualifying is expected to take place the weekend before the race.

How many laps is the Indy 500?

The Indy 500 consists of 200 laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval track. In the event that the race must be stopped early due to inclement weather, a minimum of 101 laps must be completed for the race to be considered official. The shortest Indy 500 occurred in 1974 when the race was called after 102 laps due to rain. Johnny Rutherford claimed the win after just 255 miles.

Who is the current Indy 500 Champion?

Josef Newgarden won the 2023 Indy 500. He won in the final lap after a drama-filled race. This was Newgarden’s first Indy 500 win.

Who won the first Indy 500?

Ray Harroun was the first Indy 500 winner, racing in his car dubbed “The Marmon Wasp.”

When was the first Indy 500?

The inaugural Indianapolis 500 took place on May 30, 1911 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

What does the Indy 500 winner get?

The winner of the Indy 500 receives a number of prizes, most notably a large purse. In 2022, winner Marcus Ericsson received a total of $3.1 million. The winner also receives a replica of the Borg-Warner Trophy, a replica of the pace car, the coveted opportunity to kiss the brick of the start/finish line, as well as a bottle of milk, a tradition that dates back to 1933.

Why does the Indy 500 winner drink a bottle of milk after the race?

The Indy 500 tradition involving a bottle of milk being presented to the winner dates back to 1930s. Winner Louis Meyer celebrated his win with a bottle of buttermilk, following his mother’s advice of drinking the beverage on hot days. A dairy industry executive took that iconic image and ran with it, requesting milk be provided to all future winners. Eventually, and with some compensation involved, the tradition caught on and remains a beloved part of the race to this day.

What celebrities are at the Indy 500?

Each year, there are plenty of celebrities who take part in the Indy 500 festivities. In 2023, famous faces included:
• Adam Driver
• Jewel
• David Letterman
• Angela Brown
• Tyrese Haliburton
• Mario Andretti
• Jordan Chiles
• Stephanie Beatriz
• Titus O’Neil