Review Indy 500: The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

Review Indy 500: The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

‘Drivers, start your engines’. This famous one-liner will be spoken by racing legend Roger Penske on Sunday at 6:38 PM Dutch time. It is a prelude to the start of the 107th Indianapolis 500. This race is one of the greatest auto racing races in the world. In this article a detailed overview of this iconic circular race.

The Biggest Festival

The Indianapolis 500 has been around since the beginning of the twentieth century. The very first edition took place 112 years ago. On May 30, 1911 Roy Harroun in the Marmon Wasp, a 7820 cc six-cylinder was marked as the winner.

The only Dutchman to win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was Arie Luyendyk. In 1990 and 1997 he wrote historic races behind his name.

The most winners are AJ Foyt, Al Unser, Rick Mears and Heilo Catroneves with all four wins to their credit. Catroneves is still alive and will compete next Sunday.

A strong burst

The track at Indianapolis is a 2.5 mile (4 km) loop with four long banked left turns. In total, 33 drivers cover 500 miles over 200 laps. That is equal to 805 km. Speeds over 350 km/h are easily reached by drivers.

The fastest lap ever is still in Luyendyk’s name. The two-time Indy 500 winner posted a time of 0:37.616 in qualifying in 1996. The Dutchman averaged 382 km/h.

Whether this time will ever be broken remains to be seen. Since 1997, cars have become much slower with a magical limit of 380 km / h on average so it was no longer touched.

Brick yard

The speedway features the famous Brickyard. That is a thin line of vowels (bricks) at the beginning and end. It’s a nice tribute to the earlier years. 112 years ago, in 1909, the entire bank was full. A total of 3.2 million pieces.

The ring was originally made of gravel, lime, bitumen and 220,000 gallons (about 833,000 liters) of tar oil. It was a dangerous place for cars. The slippery conditions immediately caused chaos and five fatal crashes in the first race at Indianapolis.

The owner of the track immediately intervened to prevent future accidents. In 63 days the track was transformed into a track and a row of stones. “Brickyard” is thus a common nickname for the Indy 500.

Whole Milk

If Rinus VeeKay comes first, the Dutchman will not receive champagne, but a bottle of milk. Not only to drink, but also – according to tradition – to pour on one’s own head. Participants give their milk taste to the organization in advance. VeeKay chose whole milk.

This unusual show started in 1936. It was very hot during the 24th edition. Louis Meyer won for the third time and was out. He could use a pick-me-up and asked for buttermilk, which Meyer said is a nutritious and refreshing drink.

Despite several attempts by the businessman in the milk industry, drinking milk with a winner was not successful until 1954. The driver who won received a bonus of $ 400 for drinking a glass of milk. In 1956, it became common thanks to winner Pat Flaherty, who had a calcium deficiency. He returned two bottles after the race. In addition to milk, a glass of water was also given to the winner from 1954, but after several years the organization decided to only give the ‘white’ drink.

memorial day

The Indy 500 is built on more tradition. For example, the event is always held in May on the last Sunday before Memorial Day. On this holiday and memorial day, American soldiers are commemorated who have died, especially as a result of war. Before starting, the organization pays more attention to this special day with celebrations and patriotic songs.

In 2020, it was the first time in history that the legendary race did not take place around Memorial Day. This was as a result of the corona virus. The game was moved to August 23.

What happened in 2022?

Former F1 driver Marcus Ericsson had unexpectedly won the 106th Indy 500 and his first ever victory at the Brickyard. In the crazy final lap, the Swede survived an attack by Patricio O’Ward, who was able to return to the battle for victory thanks to the red flag.

Throughout the race it didn’t look like Ericsson would win the famous race on the most famous bank, but the favorites fell in front of him one after another, including Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout who crashed in the opening lap.

Pole sitter Scott Dixon stayed upright for a long time and was masterful throughout the race. No problem, but because the New Zealander drove too fast on the pit lane and was penalized for it, he gave us a close win at the well.

This opened the way for Ericsson who opened a gap to the McLaren of O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist after his last stop. With five laps to go, the race looked decided. But with the Indy 500 you never know and that’s what happened.

Jimmie Johnson pulled into neutral and race officials pressed the red button to keep the game from ending under yellow. With four rounds to go, anything can happen. The remaining cars returned to the pits.

After two heat laps behind the Safety Car, the field was drawn again. Ericsson had to survive two rounds with a loose O’Ward chasing him. Ericsson swung from side to side on each straight to break the drift. But that didn’t stop O’Ward from trying to pass on the outside at the first corner. However, Ericsson put his hard foot in at all costs. His Mexican attacker gave him a run for his money and Ericsson became the 74th winner of the Indianapolis 500.

Starting a row

VeeKay will start the front row from second place on Sunday behind Alex Palou, the 2021 IndyCar champion, and ahead of McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist. Katherine Legge is the only female member.

That pole position does not guarantee victory is shown in the figures. 21 of the 104 races were won from pole.

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Where to watch on TV?

The Indy 500 can be seen in its entirety on the Ziggo Sport open channel and on the Ziggo Sport Racing channel.

The broadcast starts on the open channel, the broadcast starts at 6.35 pm after the Race Café session. On the racing channel there is already a detailed review from 17.00.

The race officially starts at 6:45 PM. Don’t have a Ziggo subscription? No worries. For €3.99 you can buy matches individually on the Ziggo Sport Totalal website, called Pay Per View. You can then follow the race through the website or the Ziggo Sport Go App.