All you need to know ahead of the “Month Of May” and the Indy 500

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment | James Black
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With the much anticipated IndyCar “Month of May” underway, all 27 drivers will be hoping this weekend’s Sonsio Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Road Course will be a springboard for success in “the greatest spectacle in racing”.

As come 26th of May, 33 cars will face the green flag at the historic brickyard hoping to be the first across the line and go into racing legend as an Indy 500 Champion.

There is plenty more on track action before a champion is crowned as Round 4 will be the only time the Indy Road Course will feature on this years’ calendar having previously held two rounds in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Last year was a sweep on the Indy road course for Chip Ganassi Racing as Alex Palou and Scott Dixon both brought home a win on their way to first and second in the overall championship.  

Following the Sonsio Grand Prix, the Super Speedway cars will make their first representative appearance on track as with the removal of Texas Motor Speedway from the calendar, the only practice the drivers have had so far are one or two days of testing that was disrupted by rain.

The cars will hit the track to start official preparation for the Indy 500 for three days of testing from the 14th-16th of May before they head into Fast Friday on the 17th.

Fast Friday is an IndyCar tradition that is very important for preparation as it is a full day of testing, the day before qualifying, where the teams and drivers get a full day of testing with the wick turned up on the engines. They are given an extra 90bhp in boost to simulate what it will be like in qualifying.

Following this, on the Saturday and Sunday, is Qualifying for the main event. Drivers will draw for their spot in the initial qualifying order Friday evening.

On Saturday each driver will initially get one attempt to qualify, with four laps and the whole track to themselves, average speeds usually exceeding 230 miles per hour.

Cars that want to make additional attempts will then slot into two lanes throughout the afternoon: The priority lane, which gets them on track quicker but removes their existing qualifying time; or the second lane, which will allow drivers to improve without losing their existing time.

At the end of the day, starting positions from 13th-30th will be set for the Indy 500.

On the Sunday, the twelve fastest from Saturday’s session will get one attempt to set a time in reverse order from the results the day before. Slowest goes first, fastest last.

From here its business as usual for the IndyCars as it follows the format of all other qualifying sessions where there is the Fast 12, then the Fast 6 where we have the fight for Pole Position, which was won last year by Alex Palou.

Unfortunately for one car, not everyone will make the big race as on the Sunday positions 31st to 33rd are decided in a four-car qualifying shootout to decide who will be the car bumped out of contention.

Before the green flag flies, the last chance for the drivers to get a feel for their race cars is Carb day on Friday the 24th.

Then comes the main event, Sunday the 26th there will be only one winner of the 108th running of the Indy 500.


Team Penske – You can never count out Penske at Indianapolis, the most successful team in Indy 500 history will be looking to add to their win from last year by Josef Newgarden and extend their record to 20 Indy 500 victories.

Despite the suspension over the next two race events for four key team personnel, as a result of the push to pass scandal, one of which is Team President Tim Cindric, Penske are still expected to be the benchmark after winning all but one oval race last season.

History is also on their side as the Indianapolis 500 has been held May 26 seven times, and a Team Penske driver won four of them.    

Alex Palou – The Spaniard is the favourite for this year’s Indy 500. Picking up pole position last year, he was running well throughout the race challenging for the win before a collision with Rinus Veekay in the pitlane put him to the back of the field.

Despite this, he still came back to finish fourth, showing incredible speed throughout the month. 

He also picked up a win at the road course last season on his way to win the IndyCar Championship, he will be hoping to repeat the feat after not having had the best start to a season for his lofty standards.

Santino Ferrucci – Someone who has had a great start to the season is AJ Foyt’s Ferrucci, the new technical alliance with Penske seeming to bear fruit as Ferrucci currently finds himself 10th in the championship with his most successful race still to come.

All signs point to Ferrucci having a legitimate chance of putting AJ Foyt Racing back into Victory Lane at Indy for the first time since 1999.

The American has managed five top 10 finishes out of five attempts at the 500, including a career best finish of 3rd last year where he led 11 laps.

Other Indy 500 specials – The driver most people are excited to see out on track is Kyle Larson who will be making his first attempt at the legendary Indy 500 with Arrow McLaren.

“Competing at the Indianapolis 500 is a dream of mine and something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time – since I was a child.”

An impressive Open Test in April, in which he put his car P2 will only motivate the NASCAR driver further.

Other stories to watch unfold are the 51 e.l.f  Dale Coyne Racing car piloted by Brit Katherine Legge who returns again this season to attempt to qualify for the 500.