The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is an automobile race held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, an enclave suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. The event is held over Memorial Day weekend, which is typically the last weekend in May. It is contested as part of the Verizon IndyCar Series, the top level of American Championship Car racing, an open-wheel formula colloquially known as “Indy Car Racing”.
The event, billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is considered part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, which comprises three of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world. The official attendance is not disclosed by Speedway management, but the permanent seating capacity is upwards of 250,000, and infield patrons raise the race-day attendance to approximately 300,000.
The Indianapolis 500 is held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5 mile oval circuit. Drivers race 200 laps, counterclockwise around the circuit, for a distance of 500 miles. Since its inception in 1911, the race has always been scheduled on or around Memorial Day. Since 1974, the race has been scheduled for the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Practice and time trials are held in the two weeks leading up to the race.
The inaugural running was won by Ray Harroun in 1911. The race celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, and the 99th running was held in 2015. Juan Pablo Montoya is the defending champion. The most successful drivers are A. J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears, each of whom have won the race four times. Rick Mears holds the record for most career pole positions with six. The most successful car owner is Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske, which has 16 total wins and 17 poles.