INDIANAPOLIS — Every year, more and more it almost feels like the Indianapolis 500 is back to its rightful place pre split. There was a natural build up to the 100th Running of the event in 2016 for which was a complete sell out. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway expected there to be a bit of a dip afterwards due to the uniqueness of the number “100.” However, their goal since was to just build the crowds back up year over year.
They’ve done just that. 2018 was bigger than 2017, 2019 was bigger than 2018. 2020 had no fans. 2021 was capped at 135k. 2022 was back to a full house but was short of the sellout threshold.
Nearing a sellout.
On Thursday morning during the annual operational press conference, Doug Boles, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway stated that they’ve sold basically 230k of the 235k grandstand seating. This is the best crowd the Indy 500 has seen, with the exception of 2016 obviously, in the last 25 years he says.
If you include the Snake Pit (30k allotment), infield mounds and suites, the estimated attendance for Sunday’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network) will be well north of 300k.
“Yeah, I’ve been doing the research every day with Doug (Boles) I keep asking him for detailed numbers. Because I keep trying, I keep trying to sell tickets,” Conor Daly said. “I’m like, what? How close are we really gonna get Doug like do we need to push like do I need to buy 1000 tickets just to get to that number?
” It’s honestly really good but I think you’ve been able to tell every single day, like even rainout day, first day of practice. I thought I couldn’t even go outside without like there being a huge crowd of people there.
“So love that for the series. Love that for like just in general. I think there’s a lot of momentum. I mean, qualifying weekend, I thought that was one of the coolest qualifying weekend’s like in the last like 10 years that I can remember. So like I see a lot of great things and I hope like people can realize what we’re going to do on Sunday, I think is going to be really awesome. And so that’s I know that the crowd is gonna see it, but I hope that more and more people see it as well.”
Practice days were up 10% each day with qualifying weekend having a much-needed boost too.
“I think so. I mean, I think the energy has been here all month long,” Ed Carpenter told me. “I thought the GP crowd was really, really strong. You know, I didn’t see any numbers from qualifying but Sunday look looked awesome.
“So yeah, I mean, I think you just drive around town and you can see the amount of decorations and spirit around town for the event and then add that on top of it everyone that comes from out of town, so it’s great to hear.”
You have the fastest female qualifier ever in Katherine Legge (231.070 mph) in Indianapolis 500 history. The previous single-lap record was 230.201 by Simona De Silvestro in 2021; the previous four-lap record was 229.439 by Sarah Fisher in 2002.
Agustin Canapino became the first Argentine driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 since Raul Riganti in 1940.
We also saw the first Spanish driver to win a pole for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” in Alex Palou. He produced the fastest four-lap average speed in history for an Indianapolis 500 pole winner, 234.217 mph. The previous record was 234.046 set in 2022 by Scott Dixon. Arie Luyendyk set the all-time four-lap qualifying average speed record of 236.986 in 1996, but his run came on the second day of qualifications and wasn’t eligible for the pole.
This is the fastest starting field in Indianapolis 500 history, with an average speed of 232.184 mph. The previous fastest starting field came in 2022, with an average speed of 231.023.This is the third consecutive year the fastest field in history record has been set. This year’s field average speed is 232.184 mph. It was 231.023 in 2022 and 230.294 in 2021. The record before 2021 was 229.382, set in 2014.
This is the fastest front row in Indianapolis 500 history, with an average speed of 234.181 mph. The previous record was 233.643, set in 2022. This is also the closest front row in Indianapolis 500 history in terms of speed, with .103 of a mph separating pole winner Alex Palou from No. 3 starter Felix Rosenqvist. The previous record was .112 between pole sitter James Hinchcliffe and No. 3 starter Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2016.
The time gap between pole sitter Alex Palou and No. 2 qualifier Rinus VeeKay, .0040 of a second, is the closest in Indianapolis 500 history. The previous record was .01 between pole sitter Al Unser and No. 2 qualifier Johnny Rutherford in 1970.
The speed gap between pole sitter Alex Palou and No. 2 qualifier Rinus VeeKay, .006 of a mph, is the second closest in Indianapolis 500 history. The record is .003 between pole sitter Ryan Briscoe and No. 2 qualifier James Hinchcliffe in 2012.
Benjamin Pedersen turned the fastest qualifying lap by a rookie in Indianapolis 500 history, 233.297 mph. The previous record was 233.179 by Tony Stewart in 1996. He also, Pedersen, recorded the second-fastest four-lap qualifying average by a rookie in Indianapolis 500 history, 232.671 mph. The record is 233.100 set by Tony Stewart in 1996.
There were 84 qualifying attempts Saturday, May 21, an all-time record. The previous record was 73 in 2019.
The record setting month is close to being a sellout.