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Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis 500

Overview
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, also known as the Indianapolis 500, the 500 Miles at Indianapolis, the Indy 500 or The 500, is an American automobile race
Auto racing
Auto racing is a motorsport involving the racing of cars for competition. It is one of the world's most watched televised sports.-The beginning of racing:...

, held annually, typically on the last weekend in May (specifically over the Memorial Day
Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War...

 weekend) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana in the United States, is the home of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the Brickyard 400....

 in Speedway, Indiana
Speedway, Indiana
Speedway is a town in Wayne Township, Marion County, Indiana, United States. The population was 12,881 at the 2000 census. Speedway is the home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, from which the town derives its name, and is a complete enclave of Indianapolis....

. The event lends its name to the IndyCar
IndyCar Series
The IZOD IndyCar Series is the premier level of American open wheel racing. The current championship, founded by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George, began in 1996 as a competitor to CART known as the Indy Racing League . Citing CART's increasing reliance on expensive machinery and...

 class
American Championship Car Racing
Since 1916 there has been a recognized United States national automobile racing National Championship for drivers of professional-level, single-seat open wheel race cars. The championship has been under the auspices of several different sanctioning bodies since 1909. Since 1911, the Indianapolis...

, or formula
Formula racing
Formula racing is a term that refers to various forms of open wheeled single seater motorsport. Its origin lies in the nomenclature that was adopted by the FIA for all of its post-World War II single seater regulations, or formulae. The best known of these formulæ are Formula One, Formula Two, and...

, of open-wheel
Open wheel car
Open-wheel car, formula car, or often single-seater car in British English, describes cars with the wheels outside the car's main body and, in most cases, one seat. Open-wheel cars contrast with street cars, sports cars, stock cars, and touring cars, which have their wheels below the body or fenders...

 race cars that have competed in it.

The event, billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is considered one of the three most significant
Triple Crown of Motorsport
The Triple Crown of Motorsport is an unofficial motorsport achievement, often regarded as winning three of the most prestigious races in the world in one's career:* the Monaco Grand Prix* the 24 Hours of Le Mans* the Indianapolis 500...

 motorsport
Motorsport
Motorsport or motorsports is the group of sports which primarily involve the use of motorized vehicles, whether for racing or non-racing competition...

s events in the world.
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Encyclopedia
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, also known as the Indianapolis 500, the 500 Miles at Indianapolis, the Indy 500 or The 500, is an American automobile race
Auto racing
Auto racing is a motorsport involving the racing of cars for competition. It is one of the world's most watched televised sports.-The beginning of racing:...

, held annually, typically on the last weekend in May (specifically over the Memorial Day
Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War...

 weekend) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana in the United States, is the home of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the Brickyard 400....

 in Speedway, Indiana
Speedway, Indiana
Speedway is a town in Wayne Township, Marion County, Indiana, United States. The population was 12,881 at the 2000 census. Speedway is the home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, from which the town derives its name, and is a complete enclave of Indianapolis....

. The event lends its name to the IndyCar
IndyCar Series
The IZOD IndyCar Series is the premier level of American open wheel racing. The current championship, founded by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George, began in 1996 as a competitor to CART known as the Indy Racing League . Citing CART's increasing reliance on expensive machinery and...

 class
American Championship Car Racing
Since 1916 there has been a recognized United States national automobile racing National Championship for drivers of professional-level, single-seat open wheel race cars. The championship has been under the auspices of several different sanctioning bodies since 1909. Since 1911, the Indianapolis...

, or formula
Formula racing
Formula racing is a term that refers to various forms of open wheeled single seater motorsport. Its origin lies in the nomenclature that was adopted by the FIA for all of its post-World War II single seater regulations, or formulae. The best known of these formulæ are Formula One, Formula Two, and...

, of open-wheel
Open wheel car
Open-wheel car, formula car, or often single-seater car in British English, describes cars with the wheels outside the car's main body and, in most cases, one seat. Open-wheel cars contrast with street cars, sports cars, stock cars, and touring cars, which have their wheels below the body or fenders...

 race cars that have competed in it.

The event, billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is considered one of the three most significant
Triple Crown of Motorsport
The Triple Crown of Motorsport is an unofficial motorsport achievement, often regarded as winning three of the most prestigious races in the world in one's career:* the Monaco Grand Prix* the 24 Hours of Le Mans* the Indianapolis 500...

 motorsport
Motorsport
Motorsport or motorsports is the group of sports which primarily involve the use of motorized vehicles, whether for racing or non-racing competition...

s events in the world. The official attendance is not disclosed by Speedway management, but the permanent seating capacity
Seating capacity
Seating capacity refers to the number of people who can be seated in a specific space, both in terms of the physical space available, and in terms of limitations set by law. Seating capacity can be used in the description of anything ranging from an automobile that seats two to a stadium that seats...

 is more than 257,000 people, and infield seating raises capacity to an approximate 400,000.

The early years



The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana in the United States, is the home of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the Brickyard 400....

 complex was built in 1909 as a gravel-and-tar track and hosted a smattering of small events, including ones for motorcycle
Motorcycle
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...

s. The first long distance event, in "fearful conditions", was the 100-lap Prest-O-Lite Trophy in 1909, won by Bob Burman
Bob Burman
Bob Burman was an American racecar driver active in the formative years of auto racing.-Biography:He was born on April 23, 1884 in Imlay City, Michigan. He was the winner of the Prest-O-Lite Trophy Race in 1909. He competed at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911...

 in a Buick
Buick
Buick is a premium brand of General Motors . Buick models are sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, and Israel, with China being its largest market. Buick holds the distinction as the oldest active American make...

. Breakup of the asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

 led to two fatal accidents in the first two long-distance events (a 250 mi (402.3 km) and 300 mi (482.8 km), which was shortened to 235 mi (378.2 km) after two severe wrecks). That these spectacles had attracted 15,000 paying customers (and crowds of up to 40,000) persuaded principal owner Carl G. Fisher
Carl G. Fisher
Carl Graham Fisher was an American entrepreneur. Despite having severe astigmatism, he became a seemingly tireless pioneer and promoter of the automotive, auto racing, and real estate development industries...

 to spend US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

155,000 on repaving the track with 3.2 million bricks; he also added a 2 in 9 in (0.8382 m) concrete wall around the track's circumference. During the 1910 Memorial Day
Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War...

 weekend, the first events on the newly paved circuit drew 60,000 spectators; Ray Harroun
Ray Harroun
Ray Harroun was an American racecar driver, born in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania.-Early driving:As noted in the Columbia Car webpages, Harroun participated in the original setting of the record from Chicago to New York in 1903, and the re-taking of that record in 1904...

 won the 200 mi (321.9 km) Wheeler-Schebler Trophy in a Marmon. The crowds grew progressively smaller for the rest of the season, however, so the track owners chose to focus on a single race. They considered a 24-hour contest, in the fashion of Le Mans
24 Hours of Le Mans
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since near the town of Le Mans, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency, race teams have to balance speed against the cars' ability to run for 24 hours without sustaining...

, or a 1000 mi (1,609.3 km). They instead chose a 500 mi (804.7 km) contest, and offered a specatular $US25,000 (Fr
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

1.25 million, about
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

5250) purse
Prize money
Prize money has a distinct meaning in warfare, especially naval warfare, where it was a monetary reward paid out to the crew of a ship for capturing an enemy vessel...

. The combination allowed the track to rapidly acquire a privileged status for automobile races. The first "500"
1911 Indianapolis 500
The 1911 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, or International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 30, 1911...

 was held at the Speedway on Memorial Day, May 30, 1911, run to a 600 cid maximum engine size formula. It saw a field of 40 starters, with Harroun piloting a Marmon Model 32-based Wasp racer — outfitted with his invention, the rear view mirror. Harroun (with relief from Cyrus Patschke) was declared the winner, although Ralph Mulford
Ralph Mulford
Ralph Mulford was an American racecar driver active during the formative years of the auto racing....

 protested the official result. 80,000 spectators were in attendance, 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.

In 1912, the purse was raised to US$50,000. The field was limited to 33 (where it remains) and a riding mechanic was made mandatory. This second event was won by Joe Dawson
Joe Dawson (racecar driver)
Joe Dawson was an American race car driver.-Biography:Born in Odon, Indiana, Dawson competed in the Indianapolis 500 race three times, beginning in 1911 when he drove a Marmon to a fifth place finish. The following year, Dawson won after Ralph DePalma, who had led for 196 laps of the 200 lap race,...

 in a National, after Ralph de Palma's Mercedes
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 broke. Although the first race was won by an American driver at the wheel of an American car, European makers such as the Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Fiat
Fiat
FIAT, an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino , is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial, and industrial group based in Turin in the Italian region of Piedmont. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli...

 or French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Peugeot
Peugeot
Peugeot is a major French car brand, part of PSA Peugeot Citroën, the second largest carmaker based in Europe.The family business that precedes the current Peugeot company was founded in 1810, and manufactured coffee mills and bicycles. On 20 November 1858, Emile Peugeot applied for the lion...

 companies soon developed their own vehicles to try to win the event, which they did from 1912 to 1919. The 1913 event saw a change to a 450 cid maximum engine size.

After World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the native drivers and manufacturers regained their dominance of the race. Engineer Harry Miller
Harry Arminius Miller
Harry Arminius Miller was an influential and famous American race car builder, most active in the 1920s and 1930s...

 set 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.

In 1946 American operatic
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 tenor and car enthusiast James Melton
James Melton
James Melton , a popular singer in the 1920s and early 1930s, later began a career as an operatic singer when tenor voices went out of style in popular music around 1932-35...

 started the tradition of singing "(Back Home Again in) Indiana
Back Home Again in Indiana
" Indiana" is a song composed by Ballard MacDonald and James F. Hanley, first published in January of 1917. While it is not the official state song of the U.S...

" before the race when asked to do so on the spur of the moment by Speedway president Tony Hulman
Tony Hulman
Anton "Tony" Hulman, Jr. was a businessman from Terre Haute, Indiana who rescued the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1945 and made the Indianapolis 500 popular....

. This continued through the years, notably by actor and singer Jim Nabors
Jim Nabors
James Thurston "Jim" Nabors is an American actor and singer. Born and raised in Sylacauga, Alabama, Nabors moved to Southern California because of his asthma. While working at a Santa Monica nightclub, The Horn, he was discovered by Andy Griffith and later joined The Andy Griffith Show, playing...

 since 1972.

Miller and Offenhauser


Following European trends, engine size was limited to 183 cid during 1920-2, 122 cid for 1923-5, and 91 cid in 1926-9. The 1920 race was won by Gaston Chevrolet
Gaston Chevrolet
Gaston Chevrolet was a French-born American racecar champion driver and automobile manufacturer.-Early life:...

 in a Frontenac
Frontenac Motor Corporation
Frontenac Motor Corporation was the joint venture of Louis and Gaston Chevrolet. Louis returned to the Indy 500 racing circuit after leaving Chevrolet in 1915...

, prepared by his brothers, powered by the first eight-cylinder engine to win the 500. For 1923, riding mechanics were no longer required. A supercharged car, ID, first won the race in 1924. In 1925, Pete DePaolo
Pete DePaolo
Pete DePaolo was an American race car driver. He won the 1925 Indianapolis 500.-Racing career:...

 was the first to win at an average over 100 mph (160.9 km/h), with a speed of 101.13 mph (162.8 km/h).

In the early 1920s, Miller built his own 3.0 litre (183 in³) engine, inspired by the Peugeot
Peugeot
Peugeot is a major French car brand, part of PSA Peugeot Citroën, the second largest carmaker based in Europe.The family business that precedes the current Peugeot company was founded in 1810, and manufactured coffee mills and bicycles. On 20 November 1858, Emile Peugeot applied for the lion...

 Grand Prix
Grand Prix motor racing
Grand Prix motor racing has its roots in organised automobile racing that began in France as far back as 1894. It quickly evolved from a simple road race from one town to the next, to endurance tests for car and driver...

 engine which had been serviced in his shop by Fred Offenhauser
Fred Offenhauser
Fred Offenhauser , was an automotive engineer and mechanic who designed the Offenhauser racing engine, nicknamed the "Offy", which dominated competition in the Indianapolis 500 race for decades....

 in 1914, installing it in Jimmy Murphy
James Anthony Murphy
James Anthony Murphy was a race car driver who was the American Racing Champion in 1922 and 1924.-Background:...

's Duesenberg
Duesenberg
Duesenberg was an Auburn, Indiana based American luxury automobile company active in various forms from 1913 to 1937, most famous for its high-quality passenger cars and record-breaking racing cars.-History:...

 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 powered another seven winners until 1938 (two of them, 1930 and 1932, in Miller chassis), then ran at first with stock-type motors before later being adjusted to the international 3.0 liter formula.

After purchasing the Speedway in 1927, Eddie Rickenbacker
Eddie Rickenbacker
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker was an American fighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. He was also a race car driver and automotive designer, a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation, particularly as the longtime head of Eastern Air Lines.-Early...

 prohibited supercharging and increased the displacement limit to 366 cid, while also re-introducing the riding mechanic.

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
Offenhauser
Offenhauser was an American racing engine manufacturer that operated from 1933 to 1983.The Offenhauser engine, familiarly known as the "Offy", was developed by Fred Offenhauser and his employer Harry Arminius Miller, after maintaining and repairing a 1913 Peugeot Grand Prix car of the type which...

 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.

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
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, with the competitive Maserati
Maserati
Maserati is an Italian luxury car manufacturer established on December 1, 1914, in Bologna. The company's headquarters is now in Modena, and its emblem is a trident. It has been owned by the Italian car giant Fiat S.p.A. since 1993...

 8CM allowing Wilbur Shaw
Wilbur Shaw
Warren Wilbur Shaw was a noted American racing driver and president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 1945 until his death. Shaw was the automotive test evaluator for Popular Science magazine...

 to become the first driver to win consecutively at Indianapolis in 1939-1940. With the 500 having been a part of the Formula One World Drivers' Championship between 1950 and 1960, Ferrari
Ferrari
Ferrari S.p.A. is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello, Italy. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929, as Scuderia Ferrari, the company sponsored drivers and manufactured race cars before moving into production of street-legal vehicles as Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947...

 made a discreet appearance at the 1952 event with Alberto Ascari
Alberto Ascari
Alberto Ascari was an Italian racing driver and twice Formula One World Champion. He is one of only two Italian Formula One World Champions in the history of the sport, and the only one winning his two championships in a Ferrari....

, 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 that European entries made their return, with Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n Jack Brabham
Jack Brabham
Sir John Arthur "Jack" Brabham, AO, OBE is an Australian former racing driver who was Formula One champion in , and . He was a founder of the Brabham racing team and race car constructor that bore his name....

 driving his slightly modified F1 Cooper
Cooper Car Company
The Cooper Car Company was founded in 1946 by Charles Cooper and his son John Cooper. Together with John's boyhood friend, Eric Brandon, they began by building racing cars in Charles' small garage in Surbiton, Surrey, England in 1946...

 in the 1961 race. In 1963, technical innovator Colin Chapman
Colin Chapman
Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman CBE was an influential British designer, inventor, and builder in the automotive industry, and founder of Lotus Cars....

 brought his Team Lotus
Team Lotus
Team Lotus was the motorsport sister company of English sports car manufacturer Lotus Cars. The team ran cars in many motorsport series including Formula One, Formula Two, Formula Ford, Formula Junior, IndyCar and sports car racing...

 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
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 Jim Clark
Jim Clark
James "Jim" Clark, Jr OBE was a British Formula One racing driver from Scotland, who won two World Championships, in 1963 and 1965....

 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
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 V8 its first success at the race. The following year, 1966, saw another British win, this time Graham Hill
Graham Hill
Norman Graham Hill was a British racing driver and two-time Formula One World Champion. He is the only driver to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport — the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indianapolis 500 and Formula One World Championship.Graham Hill and his son Damon are the only father and son pair both to...

 in a Lola-Ford.

Offenhauser too would join forces with a European maker, McLaren, obtaining three wins for the chassis, one with the Penske
Roger Penske
Roger S. Penske is the owner of the automobile racing team Penske Racing, the Penske Corporation, and other automotive related businesses. A winning racer in the late 1950s, Penske was named 1961's Sports Car Club of America Driver of the Year by Sports Illustrated...

 team in 1972 with driver Mark Donohue
Mark Donohue
Mark Neary Donohue, Jr. , nicknamed "Captain Nice", was an American racecar driver known for his ability to set up his own race car as well as driving it to victories. Donohue is probably best known as the driver of the 1500+ bhp “Can-Am Killer” Porsche 917-30 and as the winner of the 1972...

, and two for the McLaren works team in 1974 and 1976 with Johnny Rutherford
Johnny Rutherford
For the Major League Baseball pitcher, see Johnny Rutherford . For other people with a similar name, see John RutherfordJohn Sherman Rutherford III , better known as Johnny Rutherford, and also known as "Lone Star JR" is a former U.S...

. 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
Galmer
Galmer was an American racecar manufacturer that built cars used from 1992 through 1993 in CART competition and the Indianapolis 500. The cars were commissioned by the Galles Racing team...

 (which was actually built in Bicester
Bicester
Bicester is a town and civil parish in the Cherwell district of northeastern Oxfordshire in England.This historic market centre is one of the fastest growing towns in Oxfordshire Development has been favoured by its proximity to junction 9 of the M40 motorway linking it to London, Birmingham and...

, England) in 1982 and 1992 respectively. Ford and Chevrolet
Chevrolet
Chevrolet , also known as Chevy , is a brand of vehicle produced by General Motors Company . Founded by Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911, General Motors acquired Chevrolet in 1918...

 engines were built in the UK by Cosworth
Cosworth
Cosworth is a high performance engineering company founded in London in 1958, specialising in engines and electronics for automobile racing , mainstream automotive and defence industries...

 and Ilmor
Ilmor
Ilmor, founded by Mario Illien and Paul Morgan in November 1983, is a British independent high-performance autosport engineering company. With manufacturing based in Brixworth, Northamptonshire, and maintenance offices in Plymouth, Michigan, the company supplies engines and consultancy to the...

, 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
Emerson Fittipaldi
Emerson Fittipaldi |São Paulo]], Brazil) is a Brazilian automobile racing driver who throughout a long and successful career won the Indianapolis 500 twice and championships in both Formula One and CART.-Early and personal life:...

, Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

 Teo Fabi
Teo Fabi
Teodorico Fabi , better known as Teo Fabi, is an Italian former racing driver.-Career:Fabi participated in 71 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on January 23, 1982. He achieved 2 podiums, and scored a total of 23 championship points...

 and Colombian
Colombian people
Colombian people are from a multiethnic Spanish speaking nation in South America called Colombia. Colombians are predominantly Roman Catholic and are a mixture of Europeans, Africans, and Amerindians.-Demography:...

 Roberto Guerrero
Roberto Guerrero
Roberto José Guerrero Isaza is a former racing driver from Colombia. He participated in 29 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 23 January 1982...

, were able to obtain good outings in the 80s, as did Dutchman
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 Arie Luyendyk
Arie Luyendyk
Arie Luyendyk, originally Arie Luijendijk is a Dutch auto racing driver, twice winner of the Indianapolis 500....

. However, it wasn't until 1993 that reigning
1992 Formula One season
The 1992 Formula One season was the 43rd FIA Formula One World Championship season. It commenced on March 1, 1992, and ended on November 8 after sixteen races...

 Formula One
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

 World Champion Nigel Mansell
Nigel Mansell
Nigel Ernest James Mansell OBE is a British racing driver who won both the Formula One World Championship and the CART Indy Car World Series...

 shocked the racing world by moving to the United States, winning the CART
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

 PPG
PPG Industries
PPG Industries is a global supplier of paints, coatings, optical products, specialty materials, chemicals, glass and fiber glass. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, PPG operates in more than 60 countries around the globe. Sales in 2010 were $13.4 billion...

 IndyCar World Series
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

 Championship and only losing the 500
1993 Indianapolis 500
The 77th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 30, 1993. Emerson Fittipaldi took the lead with 16 laps to go, and won his second career Indy 500 victory...

 in his rookie year because of inexperience with green-flag restarts. Foreign-born drivers became a regular fixture of Indianapolis in the years to follow. Despite the increase in foreign drivers commonly being associated with the CART
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

 era, it should be noted that four of the first six Indianapolis 500 winners were non-US drivers.

Race name



The race was originally advertised as the "International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race" from 1911 to 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
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. From 1920 to 1980, the race reverted to the "International Sweepstakes" name, or slight variations such as "International Sweepstakes Race, Distance 500 Miles." Following WWII
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the race was commonly recognized as "The 500", "The 500-Mile Race", "Indianapolis 500-Mile Race", "Indianapolis 500," or "Indy 500," and usually the ordinal
Ordinal number
In set theory, an ordinal number, or just ordinal, is the order type of a well-ordered set. They are usually identified with hereditarily transitive sets. Ordinals are an extension of the natural numbers different from integers and from cardinals...

 (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
1981 Indianapolis 500
The 65th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 24, 1981. A hectic month of May was interrupted several times by rain. Bobby Unser took the checkered flag as the winner, with Mario Andretti second...

, 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
1979 Indianapolis 500
The 1979 Indianapolis 500 was held at Indianapolis on Sunday, May 27, 1979.The month was filled with controversy on and off the track. A court injunction was issued after USAC denied entries by the start-up CART series. During time trials, several cars were disqualified due to illegal wastegate...

 entry controversy, and the formation of CART
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

, the race changed to an invitational event, rather than an Open
Open (sport)
An Open in sports terminology refers to a sporting event or game tournament that is open to all people, regardless of their age, ability, gender, or other categorization. Opens are usually found in golf, tennis, quizbowl, snooker, darts, volleyball, ultimate, squash and chess....

, rendering the "sweepstakes
Sweepstakes
The United States consumer sales promotion known as a sweepstake has become associated with marketing promotions targeted toward both generating enthusiasm and providing incentive reactions among customers by enticing consumers to submit free entries into drawings of chance...

" description invalid.

The Borg-Warner Trophy
Borg-Warner Trophy
The Borg-Warner Trophy, named for United States automotive supplier BorgWarner, is symbolic of victory in the Indianapolis 500 automobile race...

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

Centennial Era


In 2009, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway began a three-year long "Centennial Era" to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the track (1909), and the 100th anniversary of the first Indy 500
1911 Indianapolis 500
The 1911 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, or International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 30, 1911...

 (1911). As a gesture to the nostalgic Centennial Era celebration (2009–2011), tickets for the 2009 race
2009 Indianapolis 500
The 93rd Indianapolis 500 was held on Sunday May 24, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. It was the 14th Indy 500 sanctioned by the Indy Racing League, and the premier event of the 2009 IndyCar Series season....

 donned the moniker "93rd 500 Mile International Sweepstakes." It is the first time since 1980 that the "Sweepstakes" title has been used. During the month of May 2009, the ordinal (93rd) was used very sparingly, and for the first time since 1981, was not identified on the annual logo. Instead, in most instances in print, television, and radio, the race was referred to as the "2009 Indianapolis 500." Since the race was not held during WWI and WWII, the advertised Centennial Era will occur during the 93rd/94th/95th runnings. To avoid confusion between the 100th anniversary, and the actual number of times the race has been run, references to the ordinal during the Centennial Era are being curtailed.

Female Drivers



Female participation of any sort at Indianapolis was discouraged and essentially banned throughout the first several decades of competition. As such, female reporters were not even allowed in the pit area until 1971. There have been eight female drivers to qualify: Janet Guthrie
Janet Guthrie
Janet Guthrie is a retired professional race car driver and the first woman to qualify and compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500....

, Lyn St. James
Lyn St. James
Lyn St. James is a retired professional IndyCar driver with 8 CART and 5 Indy Racing League starts to her name. She is just one of seven women who successfully qualified for the Indianapolis 500, and became the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award...

, Sarah Fisher
Sarah Fisher
Sarah Marie Fisher is a retired American professional racecar driver who competed in the IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500...

, Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick
Danica Sue Patrick is an American auto racing driver, model and advertising spokeswoman. She is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, being the only woman to win in the IndyCar Series as well as holding the highest finish by a woman at the Indianapolis 500 of 3rd...

, Milka Duno
Milka Duno
Milka Duno is a Venezuelan race car driver who competed in the IndyCar Series, and competes in the ARCA Racing Series. She is best known for holding the record of highest finish for a female driver in the 24 Hours of Daytona....

, Ana "Bia" Beatriz
Bia Figueiredo
Ana "Bia" Beatriz Caselato Gomes de Figueiredo is a Brazilian racing driver currently competing in the IZOD Indycar Series. Bia, as she is known by friends and fans, won her first Indy Lights race at Nashville Superspeedway on 12 July 2008, becoming the first woman to win a race in the Indy Lights...

, Simona de Silvestro
Simona de Silvestro
Simona de Silvestro is a Swiss race car driver from Thun, Switzerland. She is currently competing for HVM Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series...

, and Pippa Mann
Pippa Mann
Philippa "Pippa" Mann is a British racing car driver, who is currently competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series. She was born in London, United Kingdom.- Career :...

. A ninth female, Desire Wilson
Desiré Wilson
Desiré Randall Wilson is a former racing driver from South Africa, one of only five women to have competed in Formula One. She entered one Formula One World Championship Grand Prix in 1980 with a non-works Williams FW07 prepared by Brands Hatch Racing, but failed to qualify...

, attempted but failed to qualify in 1982. Guthrie first attempted to qualify for the 1976 race but fell short on speed and preparation time. She returned to qualify for the first time in 1977, and made three total starts. St. James competed in seven Indy 500s with her first occurring in 1992. Fisher has competed in eight (the most for any female) Indy 500s with her first in 2000. Patrick has competed in five Indy 500s with her first occurring in 2005. Duno has competed in three Indy 500s with her first occurring in 2007. St. James and Fisher competed in the 2000 race together, the first time two women had competed in the race. Fisher, Patrick and Duno all competed in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 races together; the 2007 race was the first time three women had competed together. 2010 set another record with four women starting (Beatriz, de Silvestro, Patrick, and Fisher); Duno attempted to qualify in 2010 but failed to do so. 2011 also saw four women qualify for the race (de Silvestro, Patrick, Mann, and Beatriz).

Patrick led 19 laps in the 2005 race and 10 laps in the 2011 race, the only times a female has led laps during the race. Her 3rd place finish in 2009 is the best finish for a woman.

AAA and USAC



From 1911 to 1955, the race was organized under the auspices of the AAA
American Automobile Association
AAA , formerly known as the American Automobile Association, is a federation of 51 independently operated motor clubs throughout North America. AAA is a not-for-profit member service organization with more than 51 million members. AAA provides services to its members such as travel, automotive,...

 Contest Board
AAA Contest Board
The AAA Contest Board was the motorsports arm of American Automobile Association. The contest board sanctioned races from 1904 until 1955, when AAA dissolved the board and decided to focus strictly on helping the automobiling public, as a result of the 1955 Le Mans disaster...

. Following the 1955 Le Mans disaster
1955 Le Mans disaster
The 1955 Le Mans disaster occurred during the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans motor race, when a crash caused large parts of racing car debris to fly into the crowd. The driver was killed, as were 83 spectators. A further 120 people were injured...

, AAA dissolved the Contest Board to concentrate on its membership program aimed at the general motoring public. Speedway owner Tony Hulman
Tony Hulman
Anton "Tony" Hulman, Jr. was a businessman from Terre Haute, Indiana who rescued the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1945 and made the Indianapolis 500 popular....

 founded USAC in 1956, which took over sanctioning of the race and the sport of Indy car racing
American Championship Car Racing
Since 1916 there has been a recognized United States national automobile racing National Championship for drivers of professional-level, single-seat open wheel race cars. The championship has been under the auspices of several different sanctioning bodies since 1909. Since 1911, the Indianapolis...

.

From 1950 to 1960, the Indianapolis 500 also counted toward the FIA's World Championship of Drivers (now synonymous with Formula One
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

), although few drivers participated in the other races of that series.

Control issues of monetary prizes and regulation amendments caused conflict in the 1970s. Soon after 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 CART
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

 in late 1978 to sanction the sport of Indy car racing
American Championship Car Racing
Since 1916 there has been a recognized United States national automobile racing National Championship for drivers of professional-level, single-seat open wheel race cars. The championship has been under the auspices of several different sanctioning bodies since 1909. Since 1911, the Indianapolis...

.

The Indy 500 itself, however, remained under the sanctioning control of USAC. It became the lone top-level race the body still sanctioned, as it ultimately dropped all other Indy car races (as well as their stock car division
USAC Stock Car
The USAC Stock Car division was the stock car racing class sanctioned by the United States Auto Club . The division raced nationally; drivers from USAC's open wheel classes like IndyCars, Silver Crown, sprint cars, and midgets frequently competed in races and won championships...

) to concentrate on sprints
Sprint car racing
Sprint cars are high-powered race cars designed primarily for the purpose of running on short oval or circular dirt or paved tracks. Sprint car racing is popular in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa....

 and midgets
Midget car racing
Midget cars, also Speedcars in Australia, are very small race cars with a very high power-to-weight ratio and typically use four-cylinder engines.-Cars:Typically, these cars have 300 to 400 horsepower and weigh...

. For the next three years, the race was not officially recognized on the CART calendar, but the CART teams and drivers comprised the field. By 1983, an agreement was made for the USAC-sanctioned Indy 500 to be reflected on the CART
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

 calendar, and CART points were awarded towards the championship.

Despite the CART/USAC divide, from 1983 to 1995 the race was run in relative harmony. CART and USAC occasionally quarreled over relatively minor technical regulations, but utilized the same machines and the CART-based teams and driver comprised the bulk of the Indy 500 entries each year.

Indy Racing League / INDYCAR



In 1994, Speedway owner Tony George
Tony George
Anton Hulman "Tony" George was the former President and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hulman & Company, serving from 1989 to 2009. He was also formerly on the Board of Directors of both entities. He founded the Indy Racing League and co-owns Vision Racing...

 announced plans for a new series, to be called the Indy Racing League. The Indy 500 would serve as its centerpiece. Opinions varied on his motivations, with his supporters sharing his disapproval of the race's lack of status within CART
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

, the increasing number of foreign drivers (as American drivers were gravitating towards NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

), and the decreasing number of ovals in the season series. Detractors accused George of throwing his weight around and using the race as leverage to gain complete control of the sport of open wheel racing
American Championship Car Racing
Since 1916 there has been a recognized United States national automobile racing National Championship for drivers of professional-level, single-seat open wheel race cars. The championship has been under the auspices of several different sanctioning bodies since 1909. Since 1911, the Indianapolis...

.

In 1995 and in response to a change in schedule by the CART series that put several races in direct conflict with Indy Racing League events, George announced that 25 of the 33 starting positions at the 1996 Indy 500
1996 Indianapolis 500
The 80th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26, 1996. This was the first Indy 500 contested by the Indy Racing League, under the overall sanctioning umbrella of USAC. It was the third and final race of the 1996 IRL season. Buddy Lazier won the race, his...

 would be reserved for the top 25 cars in IRL points standings (similar in practice to NASCAR's Top 35 rule introduced years later). The move effectively left only eight starting positions open to the CART
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

-regulars that chose not to participate in the IRL races. CART's reaction was to refuse to compromise on the schedule conflicts, skip the IRL races required to accumulate the qualifying points, boycott
Boycott
A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons...

 the race, and stage a competing event, the U.S. 500
U.S. 500
The U.S. 500 was an automobile race sanctioned by CART on May 26, 1996 at the Michigan International Speedway as an alternative to the 1996 Indianapolis 500....

, on the same day. Veteran Buddy Lazier
Buddy Lazier
Robert Buddy Lazier is an American Indycar driver. He won the 1996 Indianapolis 500 and has finished in the Top Ten in that race six times...

 won a competitive but crash-filled 1996 Indy 500
1996 Indianapolis 500
The 80th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26, 1996. This was the first Indy 500 contested by the Indy Racing League, under the overall sanctioning umbrella of USAC. It was the third and final race of the 1996 IRL season. Buddy Lazier won the race, his...

. Two CART teams, Walker Racing and Galles Racing, competed in the Indianapolis 500 to fulfill sponsor obligations and were welcomed without incident. The U.S. 500 was marred by a massive opening-lap pileup. The competing U.S. 500 failed to establish itself as a major event, and was cancelled after only one running.

For 1997, new rules for less expensive cars and "production based" engines were put into place. The move made it such that the IRL and CART
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

 utilized different and incompatible equipment. No CART-based teams would enter the Indy 500 for the next three years.

In 2000, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is an automotive racing organization with teams competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series. It is owned by businessmen Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. They have won 4 Champ Car, 3 Indy Racing League and 1 Grand-Am championships...

, still a CART
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

-mainstay, made the decision to cross lines and compete at Indianapolis with drivers Jimmy Vasser
Jimmy Vasser
Jimmy Vasser is a retired American racing driver and current co-owner of KV Racing Technology. Vasser won the 1996 IndyCar season championship with Chip Ganassi Racing, and scored ten victories in the series...

 and Juan Pablo Montoya
Juan Pablo Montoya
Juan Pablo Montoya Roldán is a Colombian race car driver known internationally for participating and winning in Formula One and CART race competitions. He has enjoyed great success. Currently, he competes in NASCAR, driving the #42 Target Chevrolet Impala for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in the Sprint...

. On race day, Montoya dominated the event, leading 167 of the 200 laps to victory. In 2001, Penske Racing
Penske Racing
Penske Racing is a racing team that competes in the IndyCar Series and NASCAR. They also previously competed in road racing, and Formula One. Penske Racing is a division of Penske Corporation, and is owned and chaired by Roger Penske...

 returned, and won the race with driver Hélio Castroneves
Hélio Castroneves
Hélio Castroneves is a Brazilian auto racing driver currently competing in the North American IndyCar Series. In IndyCar competition, Castroneves has 14 wins and 28 poles, and has never placed lower than sixth in the standings in a complete season of racing...

.

By 2003, Ganassi
Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is an automotive racing organization with teams competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series. It is owned by businessmen Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. They have won 4 Champ Car, 3 Indy Racing League and 1 Grand-Am championships...

, Penske
Penske Racing
Penske Racing is a racing team that competes in the IndyCar Series and NASCAR. They also previously competed in road racing, and Formula One. Penske Racing is a division of Penske Corporation, and is owned and chaired by Roger Penske...

 and Andretti Green
Andretti Green Racing
Andretti Autosport is an auto racing team that competes in the IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda Championship, and U.S. F2000 National Championship.-Current IndyCar Drivers and Cars:*7 Danica Patrick, GoDaddy.com*26 Marco Andretti...

 all defected to the IRL permanently. CART went bankrupt later in the year, and its rights and infrastructure were purchased by remaining car owners, and it became the Champ Car World Series
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

. The two series continued to operate separately through 2007. In early 2008, the two series were unified to create a single open wheel championship after a 12-year split. In 2011, the sanctioning body was renamed INDYCAR.

NASCAR drivers in the 500


In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Indy 500 and the World 600
Coca-Cola 600
The Coca-Cola 600, formerly known as the World 600, is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held each year at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina on Memorial Day weekend...

 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway is a motorsports complex located in Concord, North Carolina, United States 13 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina. The complex features a quad oval track that hosts NASCAR racing including the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend and the Sprint All-Star Race...

 were held on different days of the week. A handful of NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

 regulars participated in both events in the same year, including Bobby Allison
Bobby Allison
Robert Arthur Allison is a former NASCAR Winston Cup driver and was named one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers. His two sons, Clifford Allison and Davey Allison followed him into racing, and both died within a year of each other....

, Donnie Allison
Donnie Allison
Dunkiny "Donnie" Allison is a former driver on the NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup circuit, who won ten times during his racing career, which spanned the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. He was part of the "Alabama Gang," and is the brother of 1983 champion Bobby Allison and uncle of Davey Allison...

, Cale Yarborough
Cale Yarborough
William Caleb "Cale" Yarborough , is a farmer, businessman and former NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver and owner. He is one of only two drivers in NASCAR history to win three consecutive championships...

, and Lee Roy Yarbrough.

From 1994 to 2004, several NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

 drivers were able to compete in both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600
Coca-Cola 600
The Coca-Cola 600, formerly known as the World 600, is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held each year at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina on Memorial Day weekend...

 at Charlotte
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway is a motorsports complex located in Concord, North Carolina, United States 13 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina. The complex features a quad oval track that hosts NASCAR racing including the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend and the Sprint All-Star Race...

 in the same day. Since 1993, the Coca-Cola 600
Coca-Cola 600
The Coca-Cola 600, formerly known as the World 600, is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held each year at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina on Memorial Day weekend...

 has been scheduled in the evening the same day as the Indy 500. The effort has been known as "Double Duty."

At the conclusion of the Indy 500, drivers would catch a helicopter directly from the Speedway to the Indianapolis International Airport
Indianapolis International Airport
Indianapolis International Airport is a public airport located seven miles southwest of the central business district of Indianapolis, a city in Marion County, Indiana, United States. It is owned and operated by the Indianapolis Airport Authority...

. From there they would fly to Concord Regional Airport
Concord Regional Airport
Concord Regional Airport is a city-owned, public-use airport located seven nautical miles west of the central business district of Concord, a city in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, United States...

, and ride a helicopter to the NASCAR race. John Andretti
John Andretti
John Andretti is an American race car driver. He has won in CART, IMSA GTP, Rolex Sports Car Series and NASCAR. He was the last NASCAR driver to win a Cup race for the famous Petty Enterprises team.-Andretti family:...

, Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
Anthony Wayne "Tony" Stewart is an American auto racing driver and owner. Throughout his racing career, Stewart has won titles in Indy cars and stock cars as well as midget, sprint and USAC Silver Crown cars, giving him the recognition of "one of the finest racers of his generation."Stewart...

, and Robby Gordon
Robby Gordon
Robert W. "Robby" Gordon is an American racecar driver who currently competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as an owner-driver, driving the No. 7 Speed Energy Dodge Charger for Robby Gordon Motorsports, and also competes part-time in the Nationwide Series...

, attempted the feat. In 2001, Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
Anthony Wayne "Tony" Stewart is an American auto racing driver and owner. Throughout his racing career, Stewart has won titles in Indy cars and stock cars as well as midget, sprint and USAC Silver Crown cars, giving him the recognition of "one of the finest racers of his generation."Stewart...

 became the only driver to complete the full race distance (1100 miles) in both races on the same day.

For 2005, the start of Indianapolis was pushed back to 1 p.m. EDT to improve television ratings. This significantly closed the window for a driver to be able to race both events in the same day. (The race's original starting time had been set at 11 a.m. EST - 12 noon EDT - because in 1911, race promoters estimated it would take six hours to complete the event, and they did not want the race to finish too close to suppertime. Nowadays the race is routinely completed in under three and one-half hours.)

Two drivers, Mario Andretti
Mario Andretti
Mario Gabriele Andretti is a retired Italian American world champion racing driver, one of the most successful Americans in the history of the sport. He is one of only two drivers to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR...

 and A. J. Foyt
A. J. Foyt
Anthony Joseph Foyt, Jr., or as he is universally known as in motorsports circles, A. J. Foyt , is a retired American automobile racing driver. He raced in numerous genres of motorsports. His open wheel racing includes USAC Champ cars and midget cars. He raced stock cars in NASCAR and USAC. He won...

, have won the Indianapolis 500 and have also won NASCAR's premiere event, the Daytona 500
Daytona 500
The Daytona 500 is a -long NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is one of four restrictor plate races on the Cup schedule....

. Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford
Johnny Rutherford
For the Major League Baseball pitcher, see Johnny Rutherford . For other people with a similar name, see John RutherfordJohn Sherman Rutherford III , better known as Johnny Rutherford, and also known as "Lone Star JR" is a former U.S...

 once won one of the Daytona 500 qualifying races
Gatorade Duel
The Gatorade Duel is NASCAR Sprint Cup Series preliminary event to the Daytona 500 held annually in February at Daytona International Speedway. It consists of two races, and serves as a qualifying race for the Daytona 500...

.

In 2010, Bruton Smith
Bruton Smith
Ollen Bruton Smith is a promoter and owner/CEO of NASCAR track owner Speedway Motorsports, Inc. He was ranked #207 on the Forbes 400 list with an estimated worth of $1.5 billion in 2005, and fell to #278 in 2006. He is divorced with four children...

 (owner of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
Speedway Motorsports, Inc. or SMI is an American corporation that owns and manages racing facilities that host NASCAR, IZOD IndyCar Series, NHRA, WoO other racing series. The company's headquarters are located at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in the suburbs of Charlotte, NC. SMI owns nine racing...

), offered $20,000,000 to any driver, IndyCar or NASCAR, who can win both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day starting in 2011 - a feat that has never been done before. For 2011, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway moved the start time of the Indy 500 back to 12 noon EDT, which re-opened the window for travel. However, no drivers stepped forward to attempt the double duty.

Technical regulations



Technical specifications for the Indianapolis 500 are currently specified by IndyCar
IndyCar
IndyCar is the trade name of an American-based open-wheel auto racing sanctioning body. IndyCar sanctions three racing series, the premier IZOD IndyCar Series with its centerpiece Indianapolis 500, and developmental series Firestone Indy Lights and the U.S...

. Rules are the same as every other 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
Ilmor
Ilmor, founded by Mario Illien and Paul Morgan in November 1983, is a British independent high-performance autosport engineering company. With manufacturing based in Brixworth, Northamptonshire, and maintenance offices in Plymouth, Michigan, the company supplies engines and consultancy to the...

-built Mercedes-Benz 500I engine fielded by Roger Penske
Roger Penske
Roger S. Penske is the owner of the automobile racing team Penske Racing, the Penske Corporation, and other automotive related businesses. A winning racer in the late 1950s, Penske was named 1961's Sports Car Club of America Driver of the Year by Sports Illustrated...

 in 1994
1994 Indianapolis 500
The 78th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 29, 1994. Al Unser, Jr. won from the pole position, his second Indy 500 victory. Much to the surprise of competitors, media, and fans, Marlboro Team Penske arrived at the Speedway with a brand new, secretly-built...

.

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


For more information, see Indianapolis 500 pole-sitters

Throughout the years the race has used a number of qualifying procedures. The current four-lap (ten-mile) qualifying distance was first introduced in 1920, and has been used every year since 1939.

Drivers line up by speed rank in the order of the day they qualified. For several decades, four days of time trials were scheduled: the Saturday & Sunday two weeks before the race, and the Saturday & Sunday one week before the race. From 1998—2000 and from 2010—present, two days of qualifying, the Saturday and Sunday one week before the race, are scheduled for qualifications. The fastest qualifier on the first day of time trials (nicknamed "Pole day") wins the highly coveted pole position.

Drivers who qualify on the second day of time trials (nicknamed "Bump day") line up behind the first-day qualifiers - even if their speeds are faster than those from the first day. Once the field is filled to 33, the slowest car, regardless of the day it qualified, is "on the bubble." If another car qualifies faster, he/she will bump the slowest driver out of the field. In 1984, Chris Kneifel
Chris Kneifel
Chris Kneifel , is a former driver in the CART Championship Car series. He raced in the 1982-1984 seasons with 19 career starts, including the 1983 and 1984 Indianapolis 500, and finished in the top ten 6 times. He holds the distinction of being the last driver to start the Indianapolis 500 with...

 became the last driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 at under 200 mi/h.

Since 2010, the qualifications have been held over two days, and include a special "shootout" session for the pole position.
  • On Pole day, positions 1-24 are open for qualifying. At the end of the day the top nine drivers return to the track for a 90-minute "shootout" competition to re-qualify for the top nine spots - including the pole position.
  • On Bump day, positions 25-33 are filled. Once the field is filled to 33 cars, bumping commences. The slowest car in the field, regardless of the day it qualified, is "on the bubble."

Culture



Memorabilia


Many people promote and share information about the Indianapolis 500 and its memorabilia collecting. 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.

Entertainment



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

Indianapolis 500 Legends
Indianapolis 500 Legends
Indianapolis 500 Legends is a racing game recounting the history of the Indianapolis 500. Players take on the roles of various famous racers between 1961 and 1971, completing tasks such as overtaking a specified number of cars or qualifying with a good enough time...

, a Wii
Wii
The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others...

 and DS
Nintendo DS
The is a portable game console produced by Nintendo, first released on November 21, 2004. A distinctive feature of the system is the presence of two separate LCD screens, the lower of which is a touchscreen, encompassed within a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP...

 game based on the race was released on December 18, 2007

Milk


Louis Meyer
Louis Meyer
Louis Meyer was an American Hall of Fame race car driver best known as the first three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500....

 requested a glass of buttermilk
Buttermilk
Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. It also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates where unrefrigerated fresh milk otherwise sours quickly...

 after winning his second Indy 500 race in 1933. After winning his third title in 1936, he requested another glass but instead received a bottle. He was captured by a photographer in the act of swigging from the bottle while holding up three fingers to signify the third win. A local dairy company executive recognized the marketing opportunity in the image and, being unaware Meyer was drinking buttermilk, offered a bottle of milk to the winners of future races. Milk has been presented each year since then apart from 1947 to 1955. Modern drivers are offered a choice of whole, 2%, and skim.

The tradition was broken in 1993 when Emerson Fittipaldi
Emerson Fittipaldi
Emerson Fittipaldi |São Paulo]], Brazil) is a Brazilian automobile racing driver who throughout a long and successful career won the Indianapolis 500 twice and championships in both Formula One and CART.-Early and personal life:...

 drank a celebratory bottle of orange juice instead of milk. He was only the second driver not to drink milk at Indy since the tradition was founded in 1936 (and firmly established in 1956). Fittipaldi owned several orange groves in his native Brazil, and wanted to promote the citrus industry. He was widely criticized and ridiculed for the action, even though he later took a sip of milk (after the television cameras were off). Fan reaction to the milk snub was highly negative, and he was booed a week later at Milwaukee. Fittipaldi returned to Indianapolis to drive the Chevrolet Corvette
Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevrolet Corvette is a sports car by the Chevrolet division of General Motors that has been produced in six generations. The first model, a convertible, was designed by Harley Earl and introduced at the GM Motorama in 1953 as a concept show car. Myron Scott is credited for naming the car after...

 Pace Car for the 2008 Indianapolis 500. Despite coming clean, he was again booed and heckled by some fans during the Public Drivers' Meeting.

Broadcasting


The race has been broadcast live on the radio in its entirety by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network , is an in-house radio syndication arrangement which broadcasts the Indianapolis 500, IndyCar, and the Brickyard 400 to radio stations covering most of North America....

 since 1953. It was televised live from 1949 to 1950 on WFBM-TV
WRTV
WRTV, channel 6, is the ABC television affiliate in Indianapolis, Indiana; it is owned by McGraw-Hill. Its transmitter is located on the northwest side of Indianapolis at 8001 Township Line Road. Its studios are found at 1330 N...

. During parts of the 1960s and '70s the race was broadcast live on closed-circuit
Closed-circuit television
Closed-circuit television is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors....

 TV for viewing in theaters and sports venues. From 1965 to 1985, ABC broadcast the race via tape delay. Since 1986, ABC has televised the race live in its entirety (although live coverage is blacked out
Blackout (broadcasting)
Blackout usually relates to the broadcasting of sports events, television programming, that is prohibited in a certain media market.The purpose is theoretically to generate more revenue by obliging certain actions from fans, either by making them buy tickets or watch other games on TV...

 in the Indianapolis market except in 1999). In 2007
2007 Indianapolis 500
The 91st Indianapolis 500 ran on Sunday, May 27, 2007 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the 12th Indy 500 sanctioned by the Indy Racing League, and marked the fifth race of the 2007 IndyCar Series season just after the 2007 Kansas Lottery Indy 300 and just before the 2007 ABC Supply...

, the race was first broadcast in HD
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

.

See also




Further reading


Terry Reed. Indy: The Race and Ritual of the Indianapolis 500. 2nd ed. Potomac Books, Inc.; 2005. ISBN 978-1-57488-907-9.

External links