Why they don’t run the Indy 500 in the rain

Why they don't run the Indy 500 in the rain

The 2024 Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 26, but the weather forecast is iffy.

While a full, 200-lap race on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval takes roughly 3 hours, the race is official after 101 laps, so 90 minutes of favorable weather can be enough.

Does the Indy 500 run in the rain?

No. The cars use Firestone tires with no grooves, and moisture would send them careening out of control. So why not use grooved tires? That would slow the cars and send water cascading onto trailing cars. And who wants to watch the Indy 500 at less than top speed?

How do they dry the Indy 500 track?

An armada of trucks and powerful dryers circle the track to dry the 2.5-mile oval for as long as it takes to make surface race-worthy.

How long does it take to dry the Indy 500 track?

That varies. If rain and humidity have cleared out and the sun is shining, it can take about 90 minutes. However, if clouds and humidity linger, it can take much longer, perhaps 3 hours.

What year did the Indy 500 get rained out?

The race was shortened and/or postponed by weather 12 times in 107 editions of the race.

2007: Dario Franchitti, 160 laps, 400 miles completed

2004: Buddy Rice, 180 laps, 450 miles completed

1997: Arie Luyendyk; the race was rained out on May 25, stopped after 15 laps on May 26, and completed May 27.

1986: Bobby Rahal; the race was rained out on May 25 and 26, and run on May 31.

1976: Johnny Rutherford, 102 laps, 255 miles completed

1975: Bobby Unser, 174 laps, 435 miles completed

1973: Gordon Johncock, 133 laps, 332.25 miles completed; weather issues interrupted the race on three consecutive days.

1967: A.J. Foyt; the race was rained out after 18 laps and completed the next day.

1950: Johnnie Parsons, 138 laps, 345 miles completed

1940: Wilbur Shaw; the final 50 laps were run under caution because of light rain.

1926: Frank Lockhart, 160 laps, 400 miles completed

1915: Ralph DePalma; the race was rained out on May 29 and run on May 31. May 30 was a Sunday, and race officials at the time wouldn’t run on Sunday.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indy 500 rainouts, postponements, when the race is official


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