On Sunday (May 27), the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race — aka the Indy 500 — will kick off at Noon ET at Indiana’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but for the first time in years Danica Patrick — who is now competing on the NASCAR circuit — won’t be in the starting lineup. Neither will racing legend Richard Petty.
Petty is concentrating his energies on the Coca Cola 600, which kicks off Saturday evening in Charlotte, N.C.
“Really, we just never put anything together to go to Indy this year, so it’s all the 600. As far as I’m concerned, the 600 is a lot bigger race than the 500 anyway,” Petty tells the Sporting News.
So who is worth watching in Indianapolis this year? The Christian Science Monitor recommends keeping an eye on three past winners who will be in the running: Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon. But, cautions the Monitor, don’t count out pole sitter Ryan Briscoe or Marco Andretti, grandson of former Indy 500 champ Mario Andretti.
The Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast starting at 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ABC, though the race itself doesn’t begin until Noon. The average time for most races and the attendant couch-surfing is about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
Pictured above, left to right: Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball.