Indy 500: Iconic motorsport race set to begin after extreme weather delays


The Indy 500, one of the most prestigious and anticipated events on the motorsport calendar, is set to begin on Sunday afternoon after severe weather conditions forced organizers to suspend pre-race festivities, evacuate fans from the stands and postpone the start of the race.

The race was originally scheduled to start at 12:45 p.m. ET, but race organizers announced the start had been delayed “given the proximity of lightning.” Once the rain stops and track drying efforts are complete, organizers said on X that the event should see the green flag start around 4:44 p.m. ET.

This will be the 108th running of the Indy 500, known as “the greatest spectacle in racing.” Part of the IndyCar Series, a talented field of 33 drivers will race 200 laps and 500 miles around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in the ultimate test of speed and endurance.

For pilots, this is the big problem. The opportunity to write your name in the history books, the chance to take part in iconic traditions: kissing the bricks at the start/finish line and celebrating with a bottle of milk after winning the race.

“It’s the biggest sporting event in the world, isn’t it?” ” British driver Katherine Legge told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell before last year’s race. “The whole place just has this feeling, this personality that it takes on and when it’s full of fans, it’s just the most amazing feeling, like it almost has a pulse.”

The speedway – known as the “Brickyard” due to the fact that the track was originally paved with bricks rather than asphalt – has a unique aura.

“Indianapolis is about energy,” 2023 winner Josef Newgarden told NBC. “You talk to anyone who’s been to the Indy 500 or knows what it’s like – it’s an energy that’s not replicated anywhere else in the world.”

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Newgarden splashes himself with milk after winning the 2023 Indy 500.

The 108th running of the Indy 500 is broadcast live on NBC and the Peacock streaming service.

International viewers will also be able to follow the action, and a full list of broadcasters is available here. Those wishing to watch the race in countries without access to IndyCar broadcast contracts have the option of following INDYCAR LIVE, the series’ subscription streaming service.

The race is not generally broadcast in central Indiana due to a television blackout that is intended to encourage residents to buy tickets and go to the track. However, the power outage was lifted Sunday afternoon due to the storm, according to a message on X from the track officials.

The Indy 500 regularly shares a date with the famous Monaco Grand Prix, known as the “jewel” of the Formula 1 calendar. Earlier on Sunday, local hero Charles Leclerc won the race for the first time on the streets of Monte -Carlo.

For only the second time in the history of the race, a team blocked the entire front row.

Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin took pole position for the race, setting the fastest four-lap average pole speed in the storied history of the Indy 500 at 234.220 mph.

Australian driver and 2018 ‘500 winner Will Power followed with an average of 233.917 mph while two-time IndyCar champion Newgarden qualified third as the Team Penske drivers completed a sweep of the top spot.

Team Penske was also the first team to achieve this feat, in 1988, and holds the record for most Indy 500 poles with 19. The team is owned and chaired by Robert Penske, who also owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series. himself.

It was McLaughlin’s first pole position in the 500m, having achieved a better qualifying position of 14th last year.

Darron Cummings/AP

McLaughlin celebrates after taking pole.

“Welcome to the party,” the New Zealander said, according to the race’s official website. “The Pennzoil Chevy was unreal. There is so much pride in being able to do it. I work hard. Indy hasn’t been nice to me, and a lot of it is my fault. I have to work on things. This is the first step. The Thirsty 3, baby, here we come.

Drivers equipped with Chevrolet engines qualified in the first eight places among the 33 cars present.

Newgarden aims to become only the sixth driver to win consecutive races at Indianapolis and the first since Hélio Castroneves (who qualified 20th for this year’s race) in 2002.

NASCAR Cup points leader Kyle Larson will attempt to drive the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Despite the rain delay, Larson was still on the track in Indianapolis during the drivers’ presentation.

The American will make his IndyCar debut this weekend. Signed as an Arrow McLaren driver, he qualified in an impressive fifth place and has a chance to win the ‘500 as a rookie.

After competing in the Indy 500, Larson will head to Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina to try to “make the double.” The green flag for the NASCAR race at Charlotte is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Christophe Leduc/Icon Sportswire/AP

Larson is an experienced NASCAR driver but new to IndyCar.

Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, is trying to become the fifth driver to start both races. John Andretti was the first to accomplish the feat in 1994, with Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart going on to do the double on five and two occasions respectively. The last attempt was made by Kurt Busch in 2014.

The Double is considered one of the toughest challenges in motorsport due to the mental and physical effort of driving 1,100 miles in a single day, the difference between single-seaters and stock cars and of the exhausting travel schedule.

“I don’t want to just be known as the greatest NASCAR driver of all time or the greatest sprint car driver of all time, I want to be known as someone who can get in every type of car and be great at what they do,” Larson said in 2021, per NASCAR.

One of four drivers to win the Indy 500 four times, Castroneves looks to make history Sunday when he lines up at the Brickyard for the 24th time.

A victory on Sunday for the Brazilian would see him alone to win the race on five occasions – although it will be an uphill task from the seventh row.

At 49, Castroneves is aiming to become the oldest 500m winner ever and has no plans to slow down any time soon.

Michael Conroy/AP

Castroneves is already a legendary figure in Indianapolis.

“(Racing at 50) has always been my goal, but I don’t want to just do it,” he told Indy Star. “I feel like we’re still very competitive, and not just to win, but to drive people crazy here, and that’s what I want to do.

“For the moment I want to continue, because it’s what I know best. I’m sure this will change, but I don’t think it will in the near future.

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