May 1, 2024 - News

May brings race fever to Indianapolis

Illustration of a calendar flipped to May, with the days colored in to look like a checkered flag.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Start your engines, Indy. The Month of May is here!

Why it matters: Over the next four weeks, Indianapolis will put on a series of events leading up to the Indianapolis 500, when as many as 300,000 people will descend on the city for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

What's happening: The festivities officially begin today with the free 500 Festival Kickoff event, 11am to 1pm on Monument Circle, where you can meet the 500 Festival princesses and take your picture with this year's Festival cars.

πŸͺ‘ Friday is the first Porch Party of the season, 6-9pm at the Harrison Center. The community-centric initiative encourages Hoosiers to decorate their homes for the 500 and connect with their neighbors by hosting racing-themed hangs.

  • There are prizes for the three best-decorated porches, too.

πŸ‘Ÿ Saturday is the 500 Festival Mini Marathon and 5K. Half marathon runners: Don't forget to kiss the bricks during your lap around the track!

➰ See your favorite IndyCar drivers tackle another challenge β€” the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course β€” during the Sonsio Grand Prix on May 11.

πŸ§’ May 11 is also the 500 Festival Kids' Day and Rookie Run on Monument Circle.

🟒 The roar of engines returns to IMS on May 14 for the opening day of Indy 500 practice and continues through May 16.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² IMS' third annual naturalization ceremony is also May 14, welcoming America's 33 newest citizens.

πŸ’¨ May 17 is Fast Friday, the final day of practice ahead of qualifying. Expect drivers to top 230 mph and get the best look at who might claim the coveted front row.

πŸ₯ž The annual Breakfast at the Brickyard β€” where you, yes, eat breakfast but also get to drive your own car around the track β€” is May 18.

πŸ‘Š Bumping is back for the second year in a row, which brings an added level of drama to qualifying, on May 18 and 19. The starting grid has only 33 spots, so not everyone will make the cut.

  • Positions 13-30 will be set on the first day of quals. The 12 fastest get a shot at the pole position on day 2, while the slowest will duke it out for the last row.

🏎️ With the field set, practice picks back up May 20.

🎸 George Thorogood & The Destroyers are headlining the Carb Day concert on May 24 with the Gin Blossoms, which follows a couple hours of practice and the annual pit stop challenge.

🎈 The 500 Festival Parade through downtown gets race weekend going on May 25.

  • You can try to snag a spot to stand along the route, but if you want a guaranteed seat, get a ticket for the bleachers along Pennsylvania and Meridian streets.
  • The day before the race is also Legends Day at the track, where drivers past and present are available for autographs, and spectators can sit in on the public, pre-race drivers meeting.

🏁 May 26 is race day, baby. Get your tickets now… we could see a sellout.

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