Indy 500 celebrates centennial running Sunday

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indianapolis 500 is celebrating its centennial Sunday, with the 100th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” James Hinchcliffe won the pole a year after he suffered life-threatening injuries during practice for the biggest race on the IndyCar calendar.

Here’s a look at everything you need to know about the famous race, which is held on Memorial Day weekend in Indianapolis:

May 29, 2016 – The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to take place.

May 24, 2015 – Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500. It is his second career win at the Indy 500.

Other Facts: Known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

During the race, the cars go 200 laps around the 2.5-mile track, equaling 500 miles.

The track’s current dimensions are much the same as when it was constructed in 1909.

With more than 250,000 permanent seats, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the world’s largest seating facilities.

The race is among the world’s best-attended single-day sporting events. It drew crowds of over 400,000 during the 1990s.

Currently 33 cars start the race in rows of three. In the past there have been as few as 21 (1916) and as many as 42 (1933).

With 35 starts, A.J. Foyt Jr. has the most starts of any driver.

Three men have won the race four times: A.J. Foyt Jr., in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977; Al Unser Sr. in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987 and Rick Mears in 1979, 1984, 1988 and 1991.

The youngest winner is Troy Ruttman. He was 22 years and 80 days old when he won in 1952.

The oldest winner is Al Unser Sr. He was 47 years and 360 days old when he won in 1987.

Since 1936, tradition holds that winners of the race celebrate with a bottle of milk (with the exception of 1947-1955).

Race record time (200 laps/500 miles) – Tony Kanaan, May 26, 2013; 2 hr., 40 min., 3.4181 sec.; average speed was 187.433 mph.

Timeline: 1906 – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is founded by Carl Fisher.

February 9, 1909 – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway track is built when 328 acres of farmland northwest of Downtown Indianapolis are purhased by Fisher and his partners Jim Allison, Frank Wheeler and Arthur Newby.

August 19, 1909 – The first automobile race takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Twelve thousand are in attendance.

1911 – The first Indianapolis 500 takes place, with Ray Harroun winning in six hours, 42 minutes and eight seconds. The race is held annually since 1911, except for the war years 1917-18 and 1942-45.

1945 – The track is sold to Anton Hulman Jr.

1996 – Indy Racing League begins.

Also Sunday in the racing world:

Formula One starts things off Sunday with the Monaco Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg has won the past three races in Monaco and has a 39-point lead in the drivers’ standings. Rosberg and defending champion Lewis Hamilton are racing for the first time since they crashed into each other on lap one of the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago.

NASCAR wraps things up Sunday night with one of its biggest races of the year, the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can watch it right here on Fox 8. (Coverage starts at 5:30.)


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