leading up to the Indy 500

Sakuya Uehera, Reporter


Senior communication manager of Indiana Motor Speedway Paul Kelly says Indy 500 is the essential part of Indianapolis.

“It really defines the city,” Kelly said. “You can’t even imagine Indianapolis without the Indy 500.”

According to Kelly, people know Indianapolis by Indy 500. He explains this event as the “DNA of this town.”

“If you go anywhere in the world and they ask ‘Where are you from?’ and say ‘I’m from Indianapolis.’ They’ll say ‘Oh, Indy 500.’” Kelly said. “It’s kind of like a lot of Americans see the Eiffel Tower and they think ‘Oh, France,’ or they see Big Ben in London and they think ‘Oh, England.’ It’s all the same thing.”

The 101st running of the Indy 500, presented by Penngrade Motor Oil, is on Sunday May 28 at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kelly says the highlight of this year’s Indy 500 is that the current Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso is racing. Alonso is a two-time world champion in the Formula 1, and he is trying to accomplish the Triple Crown, which refers to the victories of Indy 500, F1 Monaco Grand Prix, and 24 hours of Le mans. British driver Graham Hill is the only driver who accomplished this before. Alonso has won Monaco Grand Prix twice before. He decided to skip this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, which will be taken place on the same day as Indy 500. Kelly explains that this is basically skipping his full-time job to race in the Indy 500.

Along with the  race on Sunday, there are a lot of events that lead up to the big race. All of the events of The Indy 500 starts with official practice from May 15 to 19. The practice on May 19 is called “Fast Friday,” because the drivers carry out four laps of qualify simulation on this day, and usually the fastest lap of the practice is recorded on this day.

May 20, another day of practice and the first qualification race. The next day is called “Armed Force Pole Day, On this day, the Armed Forces are  going to have a parade, and the final lineup for the main race is determined.

On May 22, they will have another practice day, and on May 26 is the day of “Miller Lite Carb Day,” Steve Miller Band and the Barenaked Ladies are going to perform.

The Saturday before the race is called “Legends Day”, which is presented by Firestone. this is the day that people come to meet the drivers at the Public Drivers’ Meeting and Autograph Session. Not only will there be starting drivers, but also legendary Indy 500 drivers.

 Country singers Keith Urban, Dustin Lynch and Clayton Anderson are also going to playing on stage.   

May 28 “Snake Pit,” which is the dance music festival, will host guests Zedd, Marshmello, and other artists.That Afternoon is when the race will take place. .

Sophomore, Kendyll Smith, has attended the race almost every year since she was around seven or eight. “I’m part of a racing family. My dad races, I race and my brother races,” Smith said. “This (going to The Indy 500) is something that we can do all together.”

Smith says her family tries to attend every event of Indy 500. A few years ago, her father got passes to get into the pit area, and they could see some drivers there. While in the pit, she could experience tires being changed and other mechanical things taking place.

“It’s all just really good memory, honestly,” Smith said. “Just going there and being with family, watching the sport that we love.”

Kelly says the further information are on their website, ims.com.