The Indianapolis 500 is an annual 500 mile (oval track) event raced with open wheel Indy Cars that can see competition lap speeds of over 235 mph on the Indy track. The Indy 500 has an over a 100-year history and takes place over the Memorial Day weekend (last weekend in May) or on May 26 in 2013. This race is considered the largest single day sporting event in the world with almost half a million people in attendance at the track itself (including the infield) and untold numbers viewing it via digital means.
Zoom: use + and - at the top left of the map. Move Map: click to drag map.
Climb on down to the Indianapolis 500 race track start / finish line
You can cruise the track at street level on this Google Map
The Indy 500 race consists of 200 laps on the 2.5 mile long Indy track (2.5 mi x 200 laps = 500 miles). The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is located in Indianapolis, IN and besides the Indy 500 is also home to NASCAR's Brickyard 400 (mile) auto race.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also known as "The Brickyard" because, although it began with a crushed gravel type of surfacing, was quickly repaved with over 3 million (3,200,000) bricks in 1909. Today it is an all asphalt track except for a remaining 3-foot strip of bricks which represent the start / finish line (view it by navigating map above).
View the previous 2012 Indianapolis 500 highlights on YouTube to get a feel for it
Pace Cars: the famous Indy Pace Cars that lead the warm up or rolling start lap(s) that begin the race have historically become very popular with consumers. The car manufacturers usually make limited edition replicas of the Pace Cars for sale to the public afterwards. This years 2013 Pace Car is one of the new model Chevrolet C7 Corvettes.
The Indy Pace Cars are traditionally to be domestic American brand cars, but in 1991 Chrysler attempted to place a Dodge Stealth as the Pace Car but protesters claimed it was built as an import so Chrysler replaced it with the all-American Dodge Viper at the last-minute.
Also, in the early years the Indy 500 Pace Car drivers were often celebrities or other handpicked drivers, but in 1971 the Dodge Challenger Pace Car driver crashed (watch on YouTube) and caused several injuries in the process. Since then, all Pace Car drivers undergo a much tighter screening process.
Official logo of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis 500 is often coined as "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" and is one of three in the unofficial "Triple Crown of Motorsports" which includes the Indy 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Monaco Grand Prix. Also, as of 2013 IndyCar is reviving a Triple Crown within itself which includes the Indianapolis 500, followed by the Pocono IndyCar 400, and finally the American Real TV 500.
1986 Indianapolis 500 Winner: Rahal's Budweiser sponsored March/Cosworth Indy car The fastest Indy 500 racing single lap speeds have topped a 236 mph average;
The fastest average race speed over the entire 500 miles tops 185 mph.
Indy Car engines: For 2013 Chevrolet and Honda will provide the 2.2-liter forced-induction (21.75 PSI to 23.2 PSI in passing mode) V-6 engines for the Indy cars. They put out about 650 horsepower, turn up to 12,000 rpm, and use E85 Ethanol fuel. Note: Problems put Lotus engines out for 2013.
Deaths or fatalities at the Indy races: Reports are that 15 drivers have been killed racing the Indy 500 and another 25 during testing, practice or qualifying. There has also been 9 crew killed during the race and 7 during practice. Lastly, 8 spectators, and 1 child (who was playing in his yard across the street from the track when he was hit by a dislodged & catapulted race-car wheel), have been killed at Indy. Source: Wikipedia