It dates back to 1911 and, depending what you read, is said to be the biggest single-day sporting event in the world. No wonder it’s hosted in the world’s largest sporting facility, in terms of sheer capacity. This weekend will see the 98th running of the most famous oval race, the Indy 500. Perhaps that ‘single day’ premise is slightly inaccurate; the first of 10 practices took place on 11 May, and there are no fewer than three qualifying sessions, but the main event will take place this Sunday.
Six former Indy 500 winners and seven first-timers sit on a mixed grid that totals the traditional 33 entries. Qualifying is already done and owner-driver Ed Carpenter sits on pole for the second year running. He’ll be hoping to finish higher than his tenth position from last year, and a four-lap average of over 231mph bodes well. No other car has managed that in 2014.
Will he join the ranks of those who have won this prestigious event? We’ll know on Sunday.
Four drivers who have claimed Indy 500 victories will be at the Festival of Speed. Al Unser Sr, one of only very few to have won the race four times, will be driving the Penske in which he claimed victory in 1978. He’s from a true Indy 500 family; brother Bobby and son Al Jr have also won the Indy 500, and nephews Johnny and Robby have competed. We’ll also be joined by Emerson Fittipaldi (winner in 1989 and 1993), Kenny Brack (1999) and Dario Franchitti (2007, 2010 and 2012).