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It was heartbreak last year for rookie J.R. Hildebrand as his crash on the last turn enabled Dan Wheldon to pass him and win the 2011 Indy 500. Will this year see a similarly thrilling finish? See if previous winners like Dario Franchitti or Scott Dixon can return to their former glory, or if perennial heavyweight Helio Castroneves can get his record-tying fourth Indy 500 win. One thing’s for sure: there is sure to be more thrills and excitement than ever as the Indianapolis 500 enters its’ 101st anniversary. Lynyrd Skynyrd will also be performing at the 2017 Indianapolis 500 race.
About the Indy 500
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is held every year on Memorial Day weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. Often called “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” it is one of the biggest motorsport events in the world and the IndyCar class consists of open-wheel race cars. The 500-mile 200-lap race was first held on May 30, 1911. The winner was Ray Harroun, driving a Marmon Model 32-based Wasp racer and helped by his new invention, the rear view mirror.
Originally called the “International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race,” it was commonly referred to as the Indianapolis 500 or 500. The winner received the Borg-Warner trophy starting in 1936, as well as a cash prize. The Speedway celebrated its’ 100 year anniversary in 2009, and the event turned 100 in 2011. Danica Patrick, who won’t be in the 2017 race as she moved to NASCAR, finished in third in 2009, the best finish ever for a woman. She will be racing in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, which is held on the same day.
Bruton Smith, who owns Speedway Motorsports, Inc., offered $20 million to any driver who can win the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day starting in 2011. No driver has attempted it yet. Only one driver, Tony Stewart in 2001, has ever completed both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day, a feat known as double-duty. Two drivers have won both the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Daytona 500: Mario Andretti and A. J. Foyt.
In 1933, after winning his second Indy 500 title, Louis Meyer requested a glass of buttermilk. Seeing an opportunity to market the dairy industry, a local dairy executive offered a bottle of milk to the winners of future races, a tradition that has held ever since.