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Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis 500 is one of the most prestigious as well as oldest automobile races in the world with huge sums for prize money. The first Indy 500 racing was in the year 1911, the races were then called the International 500 Mile Sweepstakes. Ray Harroun won the first Indianapolis 500 race, his speed was 74.602 mph (120 km/hr) and he completed the 500-mile long race in 6 hours 42 minutes 8 seconds.

The Indianapolis 500 race is normally held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in May. 33 drivers and their respective support crew participate in the Indy 500 racing. There are three weeks of practice as well as qualifying runs before a participant enters the race. On May 29, 1977, Janet Guthrie became the first women contestant to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 race.

Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway

Indianapolis 500 motor speedway was opened in the year 1909. The Indy 500 racing track was constructed using crushed stone and tar. It was initially an outdoor laboratory and competition facility for an important automobile production company. The initial races damaged the tracks and the stadium was paved with 3.2 million bricks in the year 1909. The stadium was then nicknamed as Brickyard. The Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway also hosts the Brickyard 400 races and the Grand prix races. It is perhaps the only facility in the world to host all the three major types of automobile events.

In the recent years, facilities such as computer-engine and fuel management systems, fuel-injection systems, turbocharged engines, disk brakes, better tires and improved suspension systems have been added on to the speedway. During 2000, a road course was added on to the original oval track in order to welcome the world’s most high tech cars for the U.S. Grand Prix, otherwise known as the Formula One.

Indianapolis 500 Racing Cars

The cars that race at the Indianapolis are called the Indy car. The main features of the Indy car are that, the car is open-wheeled, it has an open cockpit, a six speed manual transmission, a 3.5-liter racing engine placed behind the driver, rear-wheel drive and aerodynamic devices that keep the car held to the track. The Indy weighs at least 1,550 lb (703 kg) and produces a maximum of 650 horsepower. The car uses methanol fuel and travels around 75 miles (120.7 km) before stopping to refuel and change tires.

J. Foyt is one of the popular drivers at the Indianapolis races; he won the races four times during 1961, 1964, 1967, and 1977. Al Unser and Rick Mears are two other popular drivers who have been four-time winners of the races. They won the race during 1970, 1971, 1978, and 1987 and during 1979,1984, 1988 and 1991 respectively. Dutch driver Arie Luyendyk completed the fastest Indianapolis 500 race in the year 1990, at an average speed of 185.981 mph, within a time gap of 2 hours 41 minutes and 18.404 seconds. He has also set the record for the all-time single-lap in the year 1996 with 237.498 mph (382.216 km/h). Some other popular drivers are Emerson Fittipaldi, Arie Luyendyk, Rick Mears, Al Unser, Jr, Kenny Brack, Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran and many others.

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