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When is the Indy 500? That question and more are answered about the world’s biggest race

Josef Newgarden finishes on top under caution after Romain Grosjean wrecks in the penultimate lap, giving him his second straight IndyCar win at Texas Motor Speedway.

When is the Indy 500? The 107th edition of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing will be held May 28 with coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET on NBC and the green flag dropping around 12:45 p.m.

Marcus Ericsson is the race’s defending winner. The Chip Ganassi Racing star also opened the 2023 season with a victory in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Pato O’Ward finished second last year, followed by Tony Kanaan (the 2013 Indy 500 winner who will be making his final start at the Brickyard this year).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway officially opens for business in May with the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 13 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, Peacock Premium) on the track’s road course.

The action then will move to the 2.5-mile oval for two weeks of practice, qualifying and then the 500-Mile Race on May 28.

Here are all the pertinent details to help answer the question of “When is the Indy 500?” and many more (all times are ET and subject to change):

What are the Indy 500 race day start times?

5 a.m.: Garage opens

6 a.m.: Gates open

6:30 a.m.: Tech inspection

8:15 a.m.: Cars pushed to pit lane

10:30 a.m.: Cars on the starting grid

11:47 a.m.: Driver introductions

12:38 p.m.: Command to start engines

12:45 p.m.: Green flag for the 105th Indy 500

How can I watch the Indy 500 on TV?

Click here for the full broadcast schedule on Peacock and NBC for May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Indy 500 will be shown on NBC. Prerace coverage will begin on Peacock and NBC at 11 a.m. and run through 4 p.m., followed by a postrace show on Peacock Premium. All broadcasts also will be available via streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and

Practice and qualifying for the Indy 500 will be shown on NBC and Peacock Premium.

When is qualifying for the Indy 500?

The 33-car field for the Indy 500 will be set over the May 20-21 weekend before the race. Scott Dixon is the defending Indy 500 pole-sitter, qualifying first at the Brickyard for the fifth time in his career.

There are 34 cars entered in the race. Click here for the entry list of driver-team combinations.

May 20: Practice, 8:30-9:30 a.m., Peacock Premium; Indy 500 qualifying, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Peacock Premium; 2:30-4:30 p.m., NBC, Peacock Premium; 4:30-5:50 p.m., Peacock Premium.

May 21: Fast 12 practice, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Peacock Premium; Indy 500 Last Chance practice, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Peacock Premium; Fast 12 qualifying, 2-3 p.m., NBC; Indy 500 Last Chance and Fast Six qualifying, 4-6 p.m., NBC.

When is practice for the Indy 500?

There will be six practice-only days, starting Tuesday, May 16 and continuing through Carb Day on May 26.

May 16: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (oval veterans 9-11:15 a.m.; rookies and refreshers 1-3 p.m.; 3-6 p.m. all drivers), Peacock Premium

May 17: Noon-6 p.m., Peacock Premium

May 18: Noon-6 p.m., Peacock Premium

May 19: Noon-6 p.m., Peacock Premium

May 22: 1-3 p.m., Peacock Premium

May 26: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Peacock Premium

How many fans will attend the Indy 500?

For the second consecutive year, the Indy 500 will be at full capacity. A crowd of roughly 300,00 is expected.

The Snake Pit festival will return on race day with a roster of EDM superstars in concert that is headlined by Kaskade and include NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal as a DJ.

How many laps and how long is the Indy 500?

The race is 500 miles over 200 laps. Depending on the number of yellow flags, the Indy 500 typically takes about 3 hours to complete (give or take 30 minutes).

What is the size, length, width and banking of Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The track is 2.5 miles and consists of:

  • Front straightaway: 5/8ths of a mile

  • Back straightaway: 5/8ths of a mile

  • Turns: Each a quarter-mile.

  • Short chutes: Each 1/8th of a mile

The track’s width is 50 feet on the straightaways and 60 feet in the turns. Its turns are banked at 9 degrees.

IMS sits on 963.4 acres (which includes the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, 315 acres of parking lots and a solar farm). There are 17 grandstands, 26 bridges and six tunnels. The infield is 253 acres.

Why do 33 cars start the Indy 500?

There were 40 cars that started the inaugural 500 Mile Race in 1911. Afterward, the American Automobile Association’s contest board decided the field was too big for the 2.5-mile track. A formula was created that decreed each car should be entitled to 400 feet when the field was spread around the track. Because 2.5 miles equals 13,200 feet, that allows for 33 cars at 400 feet apiece.

Why does the Indy 500 winner drink milk?

The tradition began in the 1930s when two-time winner Louis Meyer asked for a glass of buttermilk after his second victory (his mother taught him it would refresh him on hot days). After winning a third time in 1936, a photo of Meyer drinking buttermilk led to a dairy industry executive requesting milk be available annually to the winner. Since 1956, winners have been given a $10,000 bonus from the Indiana Dairy Association for including milk in their postrace celebration.

What is the winner’s trophy?

The Borg-Warner Trophy has honored the winner since 1936. Each victor’s face is sculpted onto the trophy with a square that includes their name, winning year and average speed. Originally designed to hold 80 winners, two new bases were constructed to add more space (in 1986 and in 2004, which provides capacity through 2034).

The trophy is 5 feet, 4.75 inches high and weighs 110 pounds. It’s valued at more than $3 million and also features a 24-karat gold sculpture of late IMS owner Tony Hulman. It resides at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum. Since 1988, race winners have received a 14-inch “Baby Borg” to keep.

Here is how 2022 winner Marcus Ericsson’s face was added to the trophy this year.

Which drivers have won more than one Indy 500?

Helio Castroneves42001, 2002, 2009, 2021
A.J. Foyt41961, 1964, 1967, 1977
Rick Mears41979, 1984, 1988, 1991
Al Unser Sr.41970, 1971, 1978, 1987
Dario Franchitti32007, 2010, 2012
Bobby Unser31968, 1975, 1981
Johnny Rutherford31974, 1976, 1980
Mauri Rose31941, 1947, 1948
Wilbur Shaw31937, 1939, 1940
Louis Meyer31928, 1933, 1936
Tommy Milton21921, 1923
Bill Vukovich21953, 1954
Rodger Ward21959, 1962
Gordon Johncock21973, 1982
Emerson Fittipaldi21989, 1993
Al Unser Jr.21992, 1994
Arie Luyendyk21990, 1997
Dan Wheldon22005, 2011
Juan Pablo Montoya22000, 2015
Takuma Sato22017, 2020

What are the closest finishes in history?

YearWinnerRunner-upMargin of victory
1992Al Unser Jr.Scott Goodyear0.043 seconds
2014Ryan Hunter-ReayHelio Castroneves0.06 seconds
2006Sam Hornish Jr.Marco Andretti0.0635 seconds
2015Juan Pablo MontoyaWill Power0.1046 seconds
1982Gordon JohncockRick Mears0.16 seconds


Links to IndyCar stories this month on Motorsports Talk:

Arrow McLaren, Ganassi strong; Rahal cars struggle on opening day of qualifying

What drivers are saying about Indy 500 qualifying

Remembering the era of Indy 500 qualifying engines increasing speed, danger

Parnelli Jones, A.J. Foyt share 60th anniversary of an important moment

NASCAR champion Kyle Larson visits Indy 500 practice in preparation for 2024

“Unleashing The Dragon” uncorks big emotions for Marcus Ericsson and team

Awaiting Ganassi offer, Marcus Ericsson draws interest from other teams

Kyle Larson visits Indy 500 practice ahead of attempting the 2024 race

Indy 500 qualifying: ‘Four laps, 10 miles, frickin’ fast’

Graham Rahal mulling future with the team his father founded

Romain Grosjean knocking on the door of his first IndyCar victory

After family detour, Ryan Hunter-Reay back on the road to the Indy 500

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing enjoy best race of season

Jimmie Johnson unsure of returning to the Indy 500


No. 10: A.J. Foyt becomes a three-time winner in 1967 as Parnelli Jones’ dominant Granatelli turbine car breaks
No. 9: Sam Hornish Jr. beats Marco Andretti in 2006 on the race’s first last-lap pass
No. 8: Al Unser Jr. edges Scott Goodyear in 1992 for closest finish in the race’s history
No. 7: Rick Mears becomes a four-time winner of the race with a thrilling pass in 1991
No. 6: Louis Meyer becomes the first three-time winner and starts milk tradition
No. 5: Dan Wheldon wins second Indy 500 after J.R. Hildebrand crashes on last lap
No. 4: A.J. Foyt becomes the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500
No. 3: Helio Castroneves “reopens America” with his fourth Indy 500 victory
No. 2: Gordon Johncock holds off Rick Mears in 1982 thriller
No. 1: Jim Rathmann outduels Rodger Ward in 1960 epic