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The Indianapolis 500 reels in the crowds by the truckload. This racing extravaganza ignites a frenzy of interest among Indy fans across the nation. Before we delve into the intricacies of this world-famous racing extravaganza, it is necessary to consult the experts. The best Indianapolis motor speedways according to 888sport are those which featured the legends of the sport, notably AJ Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears.
The 104th Indy 500 contest kicks off in earnest, presented by Gainbridge, on August 23, 2020. The gates officially open at 11:30 AM – 6:00 PM. The practice race begins at midday through 2:00 PM. Dubbed, ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ the Indy 500 is comprised of 33 racing car drivers tearing down the track at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour (MPH). The Indianapolis 500 features 200 laps of blistering entertainment, spanning 500 miles in total.
Indianapolis 500 Practice and Legends Day
The Indy 500 practice takes place on Tuesday, 11 August, and is followed by the Miller Lite Carb Day, known as the final practice for the 104th Indy 500 race. Other events include the Freedom 100, as well as the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge. The Indianapolis 500 practice session begins at 11 AM and runs to 12 PM. It is followed by the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge from 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Naturally, racing fans will be eager to get their shirts, books, and photos autographed by the biggest names in Indy 500 racing. That comes next!
The prelude to the 104th Indy 500 race is known as Legends Day, presented by Firestone. This is particularly exciting for racing fans since it pays tribute to the greatest Indy 500 race car drivers of all time. These speedsters have proven themselves as giants in the racing arena, veritable demigods to race fans. A full field autograph session begins at 9 AM and continues until 10 AM. Racing car drivers will be out in full force, signing autographs for eager fans. A public driver’s meeting begins at 10:30 AM until 11 AM, with final instructions and an award ceremony presented in the pit lane.
Who Are the Greatest Indy 500 Speedsters of All Time?
There are many ways to evaluate greatness in the Indianapolis 500, including those racing drivers who have racked up the greatest number of wins in the Indy 500. Fortunately, this challenge list is easy to pick. Only 3 racing car drivers have managed to record 4 Indy 500 wins during their illustrious career, including the likes of these legendary stars:
- AJ Foyt – managed to win the Indianapolis 500 in the 1960s and late in the 1970s. His victories were recorded in 1961, 1964, 1967, and again in 1977.
- Al Unser – Alfred ‘Al’ Unser debuted in 1965 and continued racing until 1993. He is one of 3 racing car drivers to win the Indy 500 a total of 4 times. He won in 1970, 1971, 1978, and again in 1987.
- Rick Mears – Rick ‘Ravon’ Mears won the Indy 500 a total of 4 times over his glittering career. He competed in 179 races over 14 years. His Indy 500 wins came in 1979, 1984, 1988, and again in 1991.
Unfortunately, these speedsters haven’t won the lion’s share of the prize money up for grabs in this sport. Consider that the first Indy 500 winner received $27,550 in 1911. The highest earners in the Indy 500 include the following racing car drivers:
- Simon Pagenaud won the 103rd Indy 500 and collected a purse of $2,669, 529.
- Will Power won the 102nd Indy 500 and collected a purse of $2, 525, 454.
- Takuma Sato won the 101st Indy 500 and collected a purse of $2, 458,129.
- Alexander Rossi won the 100th Indy 500 and collected a purse of $2, 548,748.
- Juan Pablo Montoya won the 99th Indy 500 and collected a purse of $2, 449, 000.
*Incidentally, Simon Pagenaud of France recorded the fastest-ever average race speed of 175.794 MPH when he won the Indy 500 in 2019, with Chevrolet and Team Penske.
The biggest ever Indy 500 payday was recorded in 2008 when Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005. Payouts in the million-dollar range became a new reality in 1989, and the Indy 500 has remained a major money spinner ever since.