Get up to speed on Indy 500 trivia

Ladies and gentlemen: Start your noggins!

The 103rd edition of the Indianapolis 500 — perhaps the most famous car race in the world — is scheduled for Sunday, May 26. While you wait for the green flag to drop, check out these trivia tidbits on the event’s history.

  • The first Indy 500 was held in 1911 and was won by Ray Harroun.
  • The “500” part of the race’s name refers to its length: 500 miles. This length was decided on by race organizers, who wanted an event that would last about 7 hours. Modern races usually run between 3 and 5 hours.
  • Each lap measures 2.5 miles.
  • Three drivers are tied for the most Indy 500 victories: A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears have each won the race four times.
  • The youngest and oldest competitors were 22 and 47, respectively.
  • The tradition of drinking milk in Victory Lane started when an executive of the Milk Foundation saw a photo of Louis Meyer drinking buttermilk in Victory Lane after winning the race. (He was drinking milk not because he won, but to cool himself off.) The executive saw a golden opportunity for promotion, and the milk bottle became tradition.
  • The first woman to race the Indy 500 was Janet Guthrie in 1977.
  • Five songs are performed before the race: “Taps” (in honor of Memorial Day), “America, the Beautiful,” “God Bless America,” the national anthem and “Back Home Again in Indiana.”

WBTL-0752 (Apr. 19)

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