The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the highest-capacity sports venue.
The venue seats about 250,000—plus infield accommodations that can raise it to a whopping 400,000! It is the highest-capacity sports venue in the world.
The Indy 500 isn’t held in Indianapolis.
You would you think the race is held in Indianapolis, Indiana, but the racetrack is located in a town named Speedway, an enclave suburb of Indianapolis. The town is a municipality built to house employees of the track and auto factories located there.
You can’t see the entire race, no matter where you are seated.
According to Thrillist, no matter where you are seated, you still can’t see the entire track. People who regularly attend the Indy 500 have debates on where exactly the best seating is to watch the race. Pros claim sitting high on Turn 1 offers the best view, but others suggest sitting on Turn 3. Of course, the real best seats are inside the Panasonic Pagoda, a massive structure with nine viewing levels, equal to a 13-story building.
The first event at the racetrack wasn’t a car race.
Before the Indy Motor Speedway’s official completion of the racetrack, the first event was a balloon race, where the venue was used as a launch pad back on June 5, 1909. The balloon race drew in a crowd of 40,000, and the winner ended up landing in Alabama.
The 1st place trophy is valued at $1 million.
The Borg-Warner Trophy is awarded to the winner of the Indianapolis 500. In 1935, the Borg-Warner Automotive Company commissioned designer Robert J. Hill and Gorham, Inc., to create the trophy, which cost $10,000. After going through a refurbishment, it is insured in excess of $1.3 million.
Nine women have started in the Indy 500.
The first woman to start at the Indy 500 was Janet Guthrie in 1976. After that, eight more women qualified to start at the race. Danica Patrick, who is probably the most recognized racecar driver, was the first woman to lead a lap in the Indy 500.
The youngest winner was 22 years old, while the oldest was 47.
Troy Ruttman was only 22 years and 80 days old when he won in 1952. The oldest driver to ever win first place was Al Unser, at 47 years and 360 days old in 1987.
Winners celebrate their victory with a bottle of milk.
Driver Louis Meyer began the milk drinking tradition back when he won the 1936 race and was photographed drinking a bottle of buttermilk. Since then, the tradition lives on and first place riders even get to choose their favorite type of milk.
The closest finish in Indy 500 history was in 1992.
It was a fierce battle during the 76th Indy 500 in 1992 as race winner Al Unser Jr. won by a mere 0.043 seconds, with Scott Goodyear placing second.
The Indianapolis 500 gathers a large crowd, even indoors.
The Indy 500 is so popular, is it broadcasted in over 200 countries and over 290 million households!