1-indy 500 grid

Indy 500 pole shootout tweak adds tension and pressure

1-indy 500 grid

Roger Penske has tweaked qualifying for next month’s Indy 500 to add a shootout that will determine the first four starting rows for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and make proceedings even more intense and pressurised than they are already.

Penske told The Associated Press the tweaks will create a high-pressure atmosphere on the second day of qualifying for the Indycar race to be held on Sunday 29 May, on the same Sunday as the Monaco Grand Prix.

“We’re going to have all 33 qualify on Saturday and then come back on Sunday, and take two hours at the best time of the day and send the top 12 out and then the top six,” Penske told AP before Tuesday’s announcement. “I really want to do this, we already do it at other races.

“To have Joe Blow, who is 33rd, get beat by Julian Blow — if you think about it, doing it this way, we’re really going to be able to promote it and it’s going to be a very tense two hours.”


IndyCar most recently has used a “Fast Nine” format at the Indy 500 to determine the first three starting rows. The new format will set positions 13-33 on May 21, the first day of qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The second day will feature the fastest 12 drivers all posting a four-lap average for the pole

roger penske indy 500

The field will be cut to six for a “Fast Six” that will determine the first two rows and the ultimate pole winner. It will air live on NBC.

The pole-sitter will receive $100,000 and 12 points in the IndyCar standings. Points will be awarded in decreasing one-point increments for the top 12.

“We have an incredibly deep field heading into this year’s Indianapolis 500,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said in a statement. “The timing is right to implement a new and dramatic way to expand one of the most intense weekends on our calendar. Winning pole position for the ‘500’ is an incredible feat, and with this new format, it will be even more challenging.”

Only 32 teams have currently announced their intent to run the Indy 500, with the final 33rd entry an unknown a month out from the race. Should there be more than 33 entries, IndyCar will still hold “Last Chance Qualifying” on May 22. (Reporting by Jenna Fryer)

Helio Castroneves of Brazil, winner of the 2021 Indianapolis Indy 500

2022 Indy 500 Stats & Facts:

The 106th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing will be held May 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with race coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET on NBC.

And for the first time in three years, the Brickyard will be wide open for business. A crowd of up to 300,000 is expected for the 2022 Indy 500, which had a limited attendance of 135,000 last year and was run for the first (and hopefully only) time without a crowd on Aug. 23, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When is qualifying for the Indy 500?

  • The 33-car field for the Indy 500 will be set over the May 21-22 weekend before the race. Scott Dixon is the defending Indy 500 pole-sitter, qualifying first at the Brickyard for the fourth time in his career.
  • May 21: Practice, 9-10:30 a.m., Peacock Premium; Indy 500 qualifying, noon-5:50 p.m., Peacock Premium
  • May 22: Last Chance practice, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Peacock Premium; Top 12 practice, 12:30-2 p.m., Peacock Premium; Last Chance qualifying, 2-3 p.m., Peacock Premium; Top 12 qualifying, 4 p.m., NBC; Indy 500 Firestone Fast Six, 5:10 p.m., NBC.

When is practice for the Indy 500?

  • There will be five practice-only days, starting Tuesday, May 17 and continuing through Carb Day on May 27.
  • May 17: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (oval veterans 10 a.m.-noon; rookies and refreshers noon-2 p.m.; 3-6 p.m. all drivers), Peacock Premium
  • May 18: Noon-6 p.m., Peacock Premium
  • May 19: Noon-6 p.m., Peacock Premium
  • May 20: Noon-6 p.m., Peacock Premium
  • May 27: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Peacock Premium

indianapolis crowd

How many fans will be allowed to attend the Indy 500?

For the first time in three years, the Indy 500 will be at full capacity with COVID-19 pandemic restrictions having been lifted. A crowd of roughly 300,00 is expected for this year’s race after there were 135,000 fans permitted last year in the 230,000-seat grandstands.

The infield also has been reopened to fans. The Snake Pit festival will return on race day with a roster of EDM superstars in concert that includes Martin Garrix, Galantis, Steve Aoki and deadmau5.

For tickets to the Snake Pit festival, the Indy 500, the Carb Day Miller Lite concert or any practices and qualifying, click here to reserve a seat.

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, which 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.

indianapolis 500 takumo sato milk winner

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 his third Indy 500 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 Indy 500 winner’s trophy?

The Borg-Warner Trophy has honoured 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.

This information is supplied courtesy of NBC Sports Indy 500 coverage.

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 Indy 500 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