Turns: 4 Length: 2.5 miles (4km) Laps: 200 Fastest Lap Speed: Arie Luyendyk – 239.260mph – 1996 Most Wins: A.J Foyt, Rick Mears, Al Unser (4) 2019 Winner: Simon Pagenaud
Round seven of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will mark the halfway point of the campaign and what better way to mark the occasion than with the crown jewel event – the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon heads into the weekend with a 49-point lead over Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud with reigning series champion Josef Newgarden another four points back.
Last week Marco Andretti claimed pole position for the prestigious race – this is the first time a member of the Andretti family has achieved such a feat since his grandfather Mario did it in 1987.
The Nazareth-born driver narrowly beat Dixon by just 0.17mph which means the Kiwi has yet to start from the front since the 2017 edition of the Indy 500.
This is the first time the 200-lap race has taken place outside the month of May since the event first began back in 1911.
Plans had been drawn up to allow fans into the speedway despite the Covid-19 pandemic, however, a recent spike in cases around Marion County forced the circuit to hold the race behind closed doors the first time.
Fernando Alonso has also returned to the race with Arrow McLaren SP and qualified for the race in 26th after recovering from a hefty crash in practice.
Eight drivers in the field of 33 for this year’s race have won the blue-riband event before, with Helio Castroneves the only multiple victor as he seeks to equal his idol Rick Mears and claim a fourth win at the Brickyard.
Team Penske has won the Indy 500 and incredible 18 times, the second best is Andretti Autosport with six.
The weather for the event looks good, with temperatures reaching a high of 31ºC (87.8ºF). The chance of rain stands at just 8% – though there’s a small chance of that developing later in the day – and with low wind speeds, you couldn’t wish for better conditions.
What happened last year?
Simon Pagenaud dominated the race as he led the field away from pole position with the Ed Carpenter Racing trio in hot pursuit in the opening laps.
Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi would come through the pack and become Pagenaud’s main challenger for the win in the second half of the race with the duo ducking and weaving for the lead.
Pagenuad eventually led 116 out of the 200 laps as he went on to claim his first Indy 500 win, narrowly beating Rossi to the line after some cunning tactics in the final laps.
Sunday’s 104th running of the Indy 500 is set to get underway at 14:30 local time. Viewers in the UK can catch it on Sky Sports F1.