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Lots of sports enthusiasts love basketball, baseball, and football, but not quite as many people pay as close of attention to racing. However, this Sunday, a major racing event will draw in viewers from across the country. The Indianapolis 500, also known as the Indy 500, is taking place this Sunday, and you can watch it at 11 a.m. ET on NBC. If you don’t know much about the Indy 500, below, learn what you should know.
What is the Indy 500?
The Indy 500, also known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The IMS was created in 1906 and hosted its first race in 1909. During the Indy 500, racers complete 200 laps around the 2.5-mile track for a total of 500 miles. This year’s Indy 500 will be the 105th to date.
Who’s racing in the Indy 500?
2021’s Indy 500 starting lineup features 11 rows of three drivers. In row one, starting with the highest speeding averages from Indy 500 qualifying race sessions, will be Scott Dixon, Colton Herta, and Rinus VeeKay.
Row two will feature Ed Carpenter, Tony Kanaan, and Alex Palou. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, and Marcus Ericsson will race in row three. Row four will feature Alexander Rossi, Ed Jones, and Pato O’Ward. In row five will be Pietro Fittipaldi, Felix Rosenqvist, and Takuma Sato.
2021’s Indy 200 lineup in row six will include James Hinchcliffe, Scott McLaughlin, and Graham Rahal. Conor Daly, Jack Harvey, and Josef Newgarden will race in row seven. Row eight will feature JR Hildebrand, Santino Ferrucci, and Juan Pablo Montoya.
In row nine, racers Marco Andretti, Simon Pagenaud, and Sebastien Bourdais will be competing. Row 10 will feature Stefan Wilson, Max Chilton, and Dalton Kellett. In row 11, Sage Karam, Will Power, and Simona De Silvestro will be racing.
Who are people expecting to win?
Some sports commentators have predicted that Scott Dixon will win. Dixon impressed spectators during 2021’s Indy 500 qualifying races. He was fastest in the initial qualifying session and the Fast Nine Shootout races. Dixon is also a strong contender since he won 2008’s Indy 500.
Rinus VeeKay may also have a shot at becoming the youngest Indy 500 winner in history. Additionally, some predict that Ed Carpenter may take the win, as he was second in 2018’s Indy 500.
What does the Indy 500 winner receive?
Indy 500 winners earn approximately $2.5 million. Additionally, racers who are trailing the field can get about $200,000. To date, the highest-earning winner is Helio Castroneves, who won in 2009. Castroneves was the only winner to surpass $3 million in a single year.
Is COVID-19 affecting the Indy 500?
For 2021, the IMS was approved for a grandstand seating capacity of 135,000 fans. However, face masks are required. Fans will be spaced throughout the venue for additional ventilation. Hand sanitizer, washing stations, and masks will also be available for attendees. To enforce social distancing, concession stands and merchandise locations will be cashless this year.
Penske Entertainment President & CEO Mark Miles recently said 90 percent of the teams have been vaccinated, and the goal is to reach 100 percent by the Indy 500. Miles said it’s been estimated that at least 60 percent of the Indy 500’s attendees are likely to be vaccinated.