Indy 500 Is Challenging, Historic Race That’s Definitely Worth Watching

by NESN Staff

May 24, 2017

IndyCar doesn’t have as large of a following as NASCAR, but the open wheel series has one race every year that any sports fan should watch: the Indianapolis 500.

With Formula One driver Fernando Alonso competing in this year’s running, the 2017 Indy 500 has gained more attention than usual. But even if you don’t care about Alonso making his oval debut, or McLaren returning to an event it last won in 1976, there are still plenty of reasons to watch the 500-mile race.

We made a list of the top-five reasons why even people who rarely, if ever, watch racing should tune in to this year’s Indy 500 on May 28:

One of the biggest live sporting events in the world

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images

With a total capacity of 400,000, if you pack the infield full of people, Indianapolis Motor Speedway isn’t just the largest race track in the world, but rather the largest sporting venue. Even if you’re watching the race from your couch, you can feel there’s a different environment at the track during the Indy 500 than during any other race.

One of the most historic races in the world

Indianapolis 500

Photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images

This year’s will be the 101st running of the 500, making it one of the oldest in the motorsport. In that time, it’s been won by some of the top American and international racers in the world, including Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Emerson Fittipaldi and Graham Hill.

A true old-school race

Indianapolis 500

Photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

People who criticize oval racing argue it’s easy and boring, because drivers just keep their foot planted and turn left for a few hours. However, that simply means it takes even more courage and skill to gain an advantage. Because modern single-seaters produce a lot of downforce, an amateur racing driver could probably set a decent lap time at IMS. What sets the best racers apart from the rest are things like how close to the wall they’ll get, and how low they’ll go in the corners.

Most nutritious celebration in racing

Alexander Rossi

Photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

It’s a tradition that started in 1936, when Louis Meyer drank milk to celebrate his win because it was his favorite beverage. Now drivers apparently get asked ahead of time whether they prefer two percent, whole or skim milk, so the correct drink is waiting for them in victory lane.

Most unique trophy in the sports world

Borg-Warner Trophy

Photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images

The Borg-Warner Trophy is similar to The Stanley Cup in that the winners are immortalized on its surface. But unlike the NHL’s hardware, the Indy 500 sports the winners’ likenesses, not just their names. It’s also pretty big. At roughly 64 inches tall, it’s actually just over an inch taller than F1 driver Felipe Massa, according to WTF1.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images

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