By: Spencer Neff
May 22, 2019 | 8:29 AM
The wait is almost over: Sunday we will see the green flag for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. This will serve as the sixth race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season and the first on an oval.
Furthermore, it is the first time since 2015 that the Indianapolis 500 will also serve as the first oval on the schedule. Get ready for the world’s largest spectator event with our Indy 500 Race Setup.
What to Watch For
On May 11, the stars and cars of the series took to the 2.438-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
After a thrilling drive, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud earned his first victory since Sonoma in 2017. Eight days later, Pagenaud grabbed Team Penske’s 18th Indianapolis 500 pole – the first since Ryan Briscoe in 2012 – and the Frenchman’s second oval pole. Pagenaud’s first oval pole came at Auto Club Speedway back in 2015.
With the pole, the Montmorillion native became the first driver since Rick Mears (1991) to win the pole a year after qualifying second.
Falling just short of Pagenaud’s speed was Ed Carpenter Racing. After winning his third pole in 2018, owner/driver Ed Carpenter will start second. Despite posting the fastest Saturday time, Spencer Pigot will line up third.
In fourth will be Ed Jones. After running the first five races in ECR’s No. 20 entry (piloted by Carpenter on ovals), Jones and Scuderia Corsa run the No. 63 in an alliance with ECR.
Drivers to Watch
Starting fifth will be Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta, who out-qualified the 2018 “500” winner, Will Power. The winner at Circuit of The Americas on March 24, Herta is the fastest rookie in the field.
He is also the fastest Honda in the field as Chevrolet ran 1-2-3-4 for a second straight year. Herta is the first full-time rookie to start in the Top 5 at Indy since Danica Patrick did it in 2005.
As for Power, he looks to become the first driver to earn consecutive “500” victories since his teammate Helio Castroneves did it from 2001 to 2002. As he starts 12th, Castroneves again goes for his record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 win. Since his third win in 2009, he has finished runner-up twice (2014 and 2017).
After missing the race in 2018, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe rallied from a Day One qualifying crash to start 32nd between Dreyer & Reinbold’s Sage Karam and Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser.
With only 33 spots available to the 36 cars attempting to qualify, three went home. Following a 2018 absence, Fernando Alonso and McLaren were unable to recapture the magic from 2017 as Kaiser bumped the former Rookie of the Year in Sunday’s Last Row Shootout.
McLaren’s technical partner, Carlin, also experienced the disappointment of Bump Day. Of its four entries (including Alonso), only Charlie Kimball qualified for the race, as Max Chilton and Pato O’Ward were bumped from the field in addition to Alonso.
Race Weekend: Friday, May 24 – Sunday, May 26
Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5-mile oval
Race distance: 200 laps / 500 miles
Firestone tire allotment: Thirty-six sets for use throughout the event.
Twitter: @IMS @IndyCar, #Indy500 #ThisIsMay, #IndyCar
Event website: www.ims.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2018 race winner: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet)
2018 NTT P1 Award winner: Ed Carpenter (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet), 2:36.7818, 229.618 mph (four laps)
NBC race broadcast: Sunday, May 26 (11 a.m. ET)
Mike Tirico serves as host for NBC’s telecast of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 alongside Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rutledge Wood. Leigh Diffey will be the play-by-play announcer alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Kelli Stavast Jon Beekhuis and Robin Miller are the pit reporters. Krista Voda and Dillon Welch will also participate in the telecast’s pre and post-race shows.
Radio broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Anders Krohn and Donald Davidson. Nick Yeoman (Turn 2), Jake Query (Turn 3) and Chris Denari (Turn 4) are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Rob Howden, Ryan Myrehn and Michael Young on pit road. All NTT IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 82, XM 82, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.
The NTT IndyCar Series final practice session on May 24 is available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.
Weekend Schedule Details
To kick things off on Friday (Miller Lite Carb Day), the NTT IndyCar Series will hold a final 90-minute practice session at 11 a.m. Eastern, followed by the Indy Lights Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires. The annual Pit Stop Competition will take place after the conclusion of the Freedom 100.
On Saturday (Legends Day), the cars and drivers of the 1960s will be honored, including Mario Andretti. This year, IMS celebrates the 50th anniversary of Andretti’s win, his only victory in the race. At 9 a.m., the 33 drivers in Sunday’s race will take part in an autograph session.
At 10:20, the traditional public Drivers Meeting will be held on pit road.
On Sunday, pre-race festivities begin at 8:30 as the Borg-Warner Trophy is taken from the IMS Museum in the South Chute infield to the frontstretch.
The race day broadcast begins at 11:00 a.m. Eastern on May 26 on NBC. The command to start engines is scheduled for 12:38 p.m., with an expected green flag time of 12:45.
Carb Day coverage will be available on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network. Check out RaceControl.IndyCar.com for radio commentary with live timing and scoring included.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, May 24
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 final practice, NBC Sports Gold
2 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Competition, NBC Sports Gold
Sunday, May 26
Noon – Driver Introductions
12:38 p.m. – Command to Start Engines
12:45 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (200 laps – 500 miles), NBC
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.